Galveston Island State Park has two thousand acres of surf, beach, dunes, coastal prairie, fresh-water ponds, wetlands, bayous and bay shoreline. It is a richly diverse preserve with hundreds of species of wildlife — you may see roseate spoonbills resting in an oak mott, tree frogs croaking out their mating calls, skimmers nesting in terraced wetlands, egrets fishing the ponds, coyotes prowling the nighttime grassland, sandpipers skittering in the surf and pelicans surveying from high above.

For recreation, you can swim at the beach, hike or bike the miles of trails, kayak the wetlands and fish the bay or surf. The Park is also a science laboratory for naturalists and students of marsh ecology, bird migration, shoreline stability and wildlife habitat.

Even though a short visit can be refreshing, an overnight stay at campgrounds that front the beach or bay offers the promise of a star-filled night with the soothing sound of water meeting the shore.

Friends of Galveston Island State Park (FoGISP) is a non-profit corporation founded by a group of conservationists, naturalists and educators in February, 2001 in order to assist and promote the Park.

Read the blog entries below to keep up with our activities.


Images by Jack Chaiyakhom, winner of our first photo contest

It’ll be better next year!

The weather didn’t do us any favors on April 7 – Beach and Bay Day was cool, wet and windy! While this was enough to keep many people indoors, our volunteers still showed up in force and were able to showcase the Park to the intrepid participants who did brave the elements.

Drying off in the bus between event stations


Kids still had fun with the fishing game

(Images by Frank Bowser)

It’s almost time for Beach and Bay Day


Trying out one of the Park’s tandem kayaks

We’re getting ready for this year’s Beach and Bay Day, which will be held at the Park on April 7, from 10am to 4pm. You’ll be able to experience beach and bay adventures, complete a Turtle Obstacle Course, see live sea creatures and a glass-enclosed beehive, try a kayak, go on a nature and birding walk, and more.

This event is free to the public. We provide bottled water but you’ll need to bring a picnic lunch.

Your first stop will be registration, which is on the beach-side, near Park Headquarters. From there you can either take part in activities on the beach or take a bus to one of five stations we’ve set up for you to experience all the Park’s different ecosystems.


Part of the turtle obstacle course

Great day for a run/walk

Almost 100 runners and walkers took part in this year’s Fun Run/Walk and were treated to beautiful weather (as well as taquitos from Whataburger). Thanks to all our volunteers and sponsors.

And they’re off …


In case you were wondering which way to go …


The race wouldn’t be complete without Dr. Fistein and her trusty companion


First place, 5k


First place, 10k


The Park’s 5k and 10k courses are now certified

Dave Bary, lead for this Saturday’s Fun Run/Walk, thought FoGISP might be able to attract more participants if the 5k and 10k courses were certified by USA Track & Field (USAT&F), so he kicked off the rather arduous process that eventually resulted in certification.

The first step was to set up a short calibration course.

Dave and Debra marking out the calibration course

Debra Pence then used her bicycle, which was fitted with a special counter, to determine how many “clicks” it took to cover 300m, the length of the calibration course. To ensure accuracy, she had to travel the calibration course in each direction, multiple times.

The counter

The last stage was for Debra to ride the 5k and 10k courses designed by Dave. She had to ride both courses in each direction, noting the setting on the counter at the beginning and end of each run. During these rides, Lynn Smith and Alan Wilde were on duty stopping traffic, since Debra had to use the wrong side of the road in places (USAT&F insists that you use the shortest line between any two points).

Debra grinding it out

Dave knew with a high degree of accuracy the number of “clicks” it took for Debra to travel 300m. Now he also knew the total number of “clicks” required to travel each course and, from these, he was able to calculate the exact distances Debra had traveled. After ensuring that each course was within the limits specified by USAT&F, he submitted the paperwork for approval.

Kudos to Dave and Debra for a job well done!