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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Sept. 23, 2005

More Texas State Parks Close, Others Hosting Rita Evacuees

AUSTIN, Texas — Since Hurricane Rita has changed course, more Texas state parks in East Texas are now closing temporarily, while others are hosting hundreds of hurricane evacuees free of charge. (See state park closure list below.)

For the latest information on state park temporary closures and state parks able to host hurricane evacuees, people should phone the TPWD state park Customer Service Center reservations line at (512) 389-8900. A complete list of state parks, including a statewide map and regional maps showing park locations, is on the TPWD Web site.

The state park reservation center continues to serve as a clearinghouse to place evacuees in available campsites. Many park customers who had existing reservations for this weekend are voluntarily canceling or postponing trips, giving up their campsites to Rita evacuees. In other cases, the center is relocating people to less crowded state parks. Many evacuees are now traveling to state parks as far away as West Texas and the Texas Panhandle. Although no firm estimate is yet available, anecdotal reports indicate there are now more than 1,000 Rita evacuees in state parks across Texas.

Effective Tuesday, all Texas state parks were notified that Hurricane Rita evacuees will be allowed to use state parks as evacuation centers for the duration of the storm. Campsite and entrance fees are being waived during this time. Additional state parks not shown below may also close as conditions change.

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