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4 Ways to Picnic Safely in a Texas State Park

Submitted by on July 7, 2014 – 10:02 amNo Comment

Ways to Picnic Safely at Texas State Parks

A Few Rules to Keep in Mind When You Picnic in State Parks

by Jessa McClure

More than 7 million Texans visit their local state parks each year. Many of these patrons partake in the parks’ picturesque picnic spots. But because these eating areas are inside a natural setting, visitors need to learn how to enjoy their picnics safely.

Mark Stewart, park Superintendent for the Isle du Bois satellite park of Ray Roberts Lake State Park near Pilot Point, TX, offers some helpful tips on how to enjoy a peaceful picnic in the most beautiful locations in Texas.

1. Be Prepared

Before making your way to one of the 93 state parks in Texas, make sure you know what facilities are available. If you want to picnic near a restroom or a barbecue pit, then you’ll want to know where to find them. It’s also important to know if there are any burn bans or restrictions when it comes to cooking your food outside.

And if you’re planning to picnic during the hottest months of the year, Stewart recommends putting on plenty of sunscreen and drinking enough water to keep you hydrated.

2. Stick to the Trails

Stewart said it is important to stay in the maintained areas of the park. Going off the trail could mean trampling natural vegetation, disturbing wildlife or even running into some poison ivy or other harmful plant life.

3. Keep it Clean

Whether you’re eating a sandwich on a picnic blanket or chowing down at a picnic table near the waterfront, you want to keep these beautiful areas looking beautiful. Make sure to cleans up after yourself and throw away trash in designated receptacles.

4. Don’t Feed the Animals

Part of the excitement of picnicking in a natural setting is being able to spot wildlife. And while it is thrilling to see coyotes, rabbits, raccoons and foxes, it is important to keep a safe distance from these animals and never feed them. It can not only be harmful to the species, but it can also cause the animals to lose their fear of people.

Although there are rules to follow in these Texas-sized parks, Stewart said “we just want everybody to come out and have a good time and see their local state parks.”

Jessa McClure is a part-time freelance writer and full-time mom to four-year-old Adalyn and two-year-old Asa. She spends her time wrangling energetic children, volunteering, coping with the ups and downs of being a pastor’s wife and finding ways to channel her creativity. She finds inspiration in everyday life and has used these experiences to create articles for websites, blogs, magazines and her own blog, She can also be found on Twitter @Jessa_McClure and on facebook at


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