texas parks

Fairfield Lake State Park Will Reopen Tuesday, But Only Temporarily

Park open for free visits daily, for now -- no reservations necessary and no overnight stays allowed

Maegan Lanham/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Fairfield Lake State Park south of Dallas in Freestone County will open to visitors again, but only temporarily.

Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, people can visit the 4,200-acre park for free until the park reaches capacity. Only day-use visits are allowed -- no overnight stays -- and they aren't taking any reservations.

The 50-year-old park closed last month after it was announced the land was sold to a private developer and the park had been given 120 days to vacate the land. The parks department closed the park on Feb. 28, well ahead of the 120-day deadline, to begin decommissioning the park.

Now the parks department is reopening the park after staffers developed a plan to reopen on the recommendation of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

"Since closing the park in February, we have heard an outpouring from Texans who would love to visit their park," said TPWD State Parks Director Rodney Franklin. "While we still stand committed to reaching a compromise that would save Fairfield Lake State Park for future use, our team will be working hard to keep this gem as accessible as possible for as long as possible."

Maegan Lanham/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
The bird watching platform at Fairfield Lake State Park.

The state never owned the land the park was on and previously had a long-term lease from energy companies who, until recently, had a generation plant at the lake. When Vistra Energy shut down the Big Brown Power Plant in 2018, they informed the parks department of their plans to sell the land and encouraged them to make an offer.

 Vistra said the state never submitted an offer and they found a buyer in 2022.

"We know that Fairfield Lake State Park is a beloved treasure in a rapidly growing part of the state," said TPWD Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D. "We were heartened to hear the Committee's support for saving the park and see this as the essence of our mission, managing the natural and cultural resources of Texas for use and enjoyment."

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said they are still working with the new buyers to try to preserve the park for public use.

"With the dogwoods blooming and the bass biting, spring is an especially vibrant time to visit Fairfield Lake State Park," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Arch "Beaver" Aplin III. "I look forward to continuing my conversation with Vistra and Todd Interests to preserve both the park and Fairfield Lake for future enjoyment, but for now I applaud our TPWD staff for their dedication, creativity and flexibility in keeping the gates open. Many Texans will benefit from the continued use of this cherished resource."

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