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Governor closes Texas state parks

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission to close all state parks, including Enchanted Rock (pictured), and historic sites as of 5 p.m. April 7. The closings are part of the effort to slow the spread the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. The facilities will remain closed until the governor authorizes reopening them. Photo by Ronnie Madrid/Divine Radiance Photography

While some outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking are considered essential, Highland Lakes residents won’t be able to use state parks and historic sites to do them after 5 p.m. April 7.

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission to temporarily close all state parks and historic sites “as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen social distancing practices and prevent gatherings of large groups of people,” according to an April 7 media release from the governor’s office.

“Social distancing is our best tool to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Abbott stated in the release. “The temporary closure of our state parks and historic sites will help us achieve this goal by preventing the gathering of large groups of people. I urge all Texans to continue to stay at home except for essential services as we respond to COVID-19. By following these social distance practices, we will overcome this challenge.”

The Highland Lakes is home to some of the states most popular parks: Inks Lake State Park, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Colorado Bend State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, and Blanco State Park.

Pedernales Falls State Park previously closed due to staffing concerns related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

For more on how COVID-19 is affecting the Highland Lakes, visit the DailyTrib.com coronavirus resources webpage.

editor@thepicayune.com