Great kids fun at Purtis Creek State Park
Posted by : May 22, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Kiwanis members learned of the many and diverse children’s programs offered at Purtis Creek State Park from the park’s superintendent Mendy Davis at the recent meeting at The Jalepeno Tree Restaurant May 15.
“We offer activities to peak their interests and draw them in,” Davis said.
“We offer classes on fishing, knot tying, beavers, nature hikes and much more,” she added.
Educational programs at the park focus on the emotional and intellectual bond between the child and the resource, utilizing hands-on activities, and cause and effect scenario games in a safe environment.
Because Purtis Creek State Park does not employ an interpreter, all volunteers and their eight employees have undergone extensive training on conducting classes.
“We offer Dutch-Oven cooking, geocaching (a treasure hunting game using GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants), canoe and kayaking classes. Last year we gave 1,236 programs to 724 kids and 512 adults. Because of the staff and volunteer training this year, we’ve already given more than 5,000 programs,” Davis said.
Purtis Creek State Park has increased their revenue by 30 percent, and visitation is up by 14 percent.
“We are almost self-sustaining,” Davis said of the $280,000 revenue taken in last year which goes toward the $360,000 in expenses.
Future plans for the park include creating another overnight camping loop and offering visitors the option to checkout a backpack for the day.
“The infrastructure is there,” Davis said, explaining the completion of the loop requires manpower and more funding.
“We would like to have day backpacks that can be checked out and include information and items visitors can use during their visit but they are a little costly,” she added.
Purtis Creek State Park plans to offer Texas Outdoor Family Days in October and November for families to learn how to cook, pitch a tent, clean fish and learn all aspects of camping in the outdoors. All necessary camping gear is provided.
Davis has been the Purtis Creek State Park superintendent for a little more than three years.
“I was a manager at Lockhead Martin for many years, but two hours after 9/11, I decided the money was not important. I took a two-thirds cut in pay in order to spend more quality time with my children and this is something that interests me and my boys,” Davis said.
Purtis Creek State Park is located at 14225 FM 316, Eustace, TX 75124.
The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week year-round.
For more information, call (903) 425-2332 or go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/purtis-creek.