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Inks Lake State Park Superintendent Barrett Durst

Inks Lake State Park Superintendent Barrett Durst presented a completed Park Public Use Plan for both Inks and Longhorn Cavern state parks to the Burnet County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Inks Lake State Park is in the beginning stages of a major makeover that will move the park’s entrance, build a modern headquarters, add a boat ramp, and increase the day-use capacity. Upgrades are also planned at Longhorn Cavern State Park, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials told the Burnet County Commissioners Court at a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12. The price tag is about $9 million with work set to be completed sometime in 2025-26, according to the new Park Public Use Plan.

“People love Inks, y’all,” said Barrett Durst, superintendent of Inks State Park. “We are at capacity limit now.” 

PARK PUBLIC USE PLAN 

Construction of a new headquarters building, which will be two and a half times bigger than the current facility, should begin in 2022, Durst continued. The old building will be used as an interpretive center. 

The old Inks golf course and clubhouse have already been demolished. That acreage will be set aside for new day-use sites, including a playground, tables, hiking trails, and a second boat ramp.  

The area around Inks Lake State Park’s Devil’s Waterhole will be dedicated to day use. All overnight camping will be moved to another area. Traffic into and out of the campground will be concentrated in day-use areas, keeping campgrounds clear of general traffic. The overnight camping area will not increase. The vast majority of the improvements are focused on day use.

“The is a real tangle when we get day use and overnight campers coming together,” said Justin Fluery, park planner for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 

The entrance is being designed to keep down the number of vehicles lining up to get into Inks Lake. A four-way dump station as well as charging stations for electric vehicles will be added. 

“This headquarters will really modernize operations, especially  from a visitor’s standpoint,” Fluery said. “It will have a large conference room for meetings and a recreation area for weddings, work events, whatever.”

The recreation area will be enclosed and air conditioned. An open-air pavilion will also be available. Upgraded toilets will be built throughout the park. 

The final plan and funding will have to go through the Texas Legislature in 2023. Funding has been boosted by a proposition passed by the 2017 Legislature that dedicated sporting goods sales tax to capital park projects. 

“This has been on a capital list for 10 years,” Fluery said. “We are in a position now to take on a lot more capital projects.” 

Inks Lake State Park is one of the few parks with a new park plan, which Durst said is directly related to the park’s popularity. 

“It’s amazing how popular that is,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “It’s due — since 1942. It’s welcome to see this.”

suzanne@thepicayune.com

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