Image by Verva Dunsmore

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.


Use the Park’s new online reservation system

Texas Parks and Wildlife has introduced a new online reservation system designed to make Park access more efficient. This system will not only allow you to make camping/lodging reservations but you can also obtain a day pass. If you’ve made a reservation at a Texas State Park in the last three years, you should already have an account that will give you access to this system; otherwise, you can create a new account. Give it a try!

Volunteers needed to help maintain the Park

Due to staffing shortages, the Park needs help with activities such as mowing, invasive species control, and pesticide application. These are typically carried out on Tuesday mornings under the supervision of Pedro Aguiar, Maintenance Specialist. Note that some of these activities require training from Pedro.

IT IS ESSENTIAL that you contact Pedro before coming out to the Park. You can email him at pedro.aguiar@tpwd.texas.gov or call the Park Office at 409-737-1222.


Beach closure beginning in 2019

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has announced they will be closing the beach side of Galveston Island State Park in 2019, as early as mid-July. TPWD will be replacing or improving all facilities between FM 3005 and the beach. This project, mainly funded by penalties from the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill, is expected to continue for at least three years.

They’re back ….

The new kayak shed is operational, with only a few minor jobs to complete.

The kayaks are in place – and were used by Ranger Lisa and Kim to lead a party of hardy souls on January 1. Brrrr!

Here are the FoGISP volunteers who helped load up the new shed.


Demonstrating renewable energy at the Park?

Have you ever wondered why the wind turbine situated behind the Nature Learning Center never turns? And why there is a lean-to next to the turbine?

It turns out that the wind turbine and five solar cells – yes, those are solar cells on top of the “lean-to” – were installed in 2009 to create a live demonstration of renewable energy. Time and neglect caused the turbine to stop turning (bad bearings) and the solar cells to stop creating energy (a bad inverter); however, thanks to Wayne and Root, the solar cells are back online.

FoGISP is investigating the possibility of restoring the wind turbine so that we can again demonstrate the generation of renewable energy. Wish us luck – the company that made the turbine is out of business, though parts are still available.

What we add to the Park …

During 2016/2017, the Friends of Galveston Island State Park achieved the following:

  • 5k/10k Fun Run – 82 participants braved the 26-degree weather.
  • Beach and Bay Day – This annual event showcases the Park and demonstrates how nature can be enjoyed responsibly. 1,247 visitors were attracted to the Park, backed by 86 volunteers and 12 sponsors.
  • Camp Wild – This year’s day camp attracted 60 kids and 74 volunteers.
  • Coastal prairie restoration – Our volunteers grew and planted little bluestem, long-spiked tridens, brownseed paspalum, gulf coast muhly, 3-awn, dunes paspalum, and bracted blazing star. We also took part in two workdays designed to rid the Park of Chinese tallow, an invasive
  • Kayaking – We led and helped lead numerous kayak trips, both day-time and sunset. We had several kayak-related workdays and purchased a new kayak, as well as new life jackets for children.
  • We staffed the Nature Learning Center for 37 weekends, while also providing guided walks in the beach and bay sides of the Park.
  • We ran 27 school trips, introducing 2,000 children, chaperones and teachers to the wonders of the Park.
  • We supported the Park’s Bird Sit event.
  • Volunteers took part in a number of outreach events, including Sea Center Texas Nature Day, Boy Scouts Outdoor Experience, World Oceans Day Festival and TAMUG Spring Fest 2017.

In 2017/2018, you can expect more of the same, perhaps with some enhancements and additions. We are also planning to replace the existing kayak shed to give us more space to support this increasingly popular activity. We also plan to replace the bridge at the kayak pond.