The North Texas Home Builders Association enjoyed the opportunity to learn from, Lake Arrowhead State Park Superintendent Keith Gauthier, what the state park has to offer residents of Wichita Falls as well as visitors from all over. They also were educated on what the economic impact is from the Park.
The mission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division is: To manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Keith began with the history of the land being impounded in 1966 and consisted of roughly 17k surface acres. It was acquired through the State Park Bond Acquisition Program in 1970 at which time it was opened to the public.
The park consist of 90 campsites that include some with water and electricity, primitive and equestrian, 40 day use picnic sites, 9 boat ramps and an 18 lane boat slip. There are 2 fishing piers and 6 miles of trail ranging from easy to arduous. The park has a swim beach along with an active prairie dog town.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife continue to find ways to offer the best fishing opportunities by putting artificial structures in the lake for fish inhabitance. These artificial structures are better for the environment while allowing the fisherman more time to enjoy their fishing experiences without spending a lot of time trying to get untangled. The new structures are designed so it is easier for the hooks to slide over without hanging up. The park is also an official fish weigh station.
The park doesn’t only have things for the public to do on their own but offers other programs and games such as:
Geocaching – a modern day scavenger hunt that uses a smartphone GPS app. Caches have ratings of size, difficulty and terrain. This allows the player to have the interaction with their devices while searching for treasure and competing with others.
Since fishing equipment can be expensive to buy, the state park is fortunate to have a loaner program where they allow you to check out equipment at no charge if returned.
A nonprofit group called Friends of Lake Arrowhead, volunteer their time to help coordinate events such as the Annual Mark Howell Memorial Fishing Rodeo, Kids fish and Adult Rough Fish contest which is usually scheduled the first Saturday of June. The first Saturday of June is the state of Texas fishing without a license day. This is not the reason for the event to be scheduled on that day because you are not required to have a fishing license to fish in a state park
The Friends of Lake Arrowhead also coordinate the Ranger Programs. Ranger Programs are educational programs available at the park that include Hunter Education, Fishing Education Programs, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Aquatic Wild, Texas Rare and Wild, Adopt a Wetland, and Buffalo Soldiers community education outreach programs.
Teachers can obtain continuing education credits for attending many of these programs. All educational programs must be scheduled through the park headquarters and require a minimum of 10 participants in order to conduct the training.
The Lake Arrowhead State Park also offers a Waterfowl Workshop where individuals can learn the Ins and Outs of hunting Waterfowl at Lake Arrowhead State Park. This workshop includes the following:
Waterfowl Identification – Knowing the shapes, sounds, regions, and general information over the waterfowl commonly found in Texas
Waterfowl Game Law – Information from Local Game warden Eddie Hood about the laws surrounding hunting waterfowl
Hunting with Retrievers – Learn the ins and outs of using hunting and retrieving dogs, demonstrated by Cowtown Hunting Retrievers.
Taxidermy Information – How to properly prepare and preserve waterfowl for taxidermy from the master taxidermist, Ron Kennedy.
Introduction to Shotguns – Information on various shotguns, proper and safe handling of shotguns, and then some practice shooting to get you ready for hunting waterfowl.
Hunting Techniques and Strategies – Learn from Muddy Water Outfitters, the people whom have made a living off of hunting.
Lunch is provided by the Lake Arrowhead Friends Group and there is no cost for the workshop however, it fills up a year in advance. They are currently taking reservations for 2018.
The state park has an 18 hole disc golf that has become very popular and they host an annual tournament the second Saturday of September.
The state park offers many recreational opportunities but from those opportunities creates an economic impact for Wichita Falls. John L. Crompton of the Texas A & M University Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences contributed these economic facts:
In 2014: Total output was $703,729, 5.9 jobs were created and the sales tax generated was $8,482. Visitation has increased 300% creating 3 more full time jobs, revenue and sales tax.
Arrowhead State National Park is known nationally from hosting famous people such as Al Rocker who was welcomed by over 650 people and Josh Hamilton who attended one of the hunter education classes.
When you get ready for some family time and want have fun enjoying the outdoors, stay local and visit Arrowhead State Park at 229 Park Rd 63, Wichita Falls, TX 76310. You can call ahead to make reservations (940) 528-2211 or visit their website at http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lake-arrowhead. They have a wide variety of things to do.