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Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov [RM]

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TPWD News Release — Sept. 24, 2007

Caprock Canyons State Park To Unveil New Visitor Center

QUITAQUE, Texas — Caprock Canyons State Park will celebrate its 25th anniversary and the grand opening of its new $1 million visitor center with a host of activities Oct. 19-20 at the park.

The public is invited to Saturday’s celebration that starts at 9 a.m. with a Dutch oven cooking demonstration, driving tours of the park, children’s activities and a buffalo hunter living history program. There will be a 2 p.m. ribbon cutting for the visitors center, followed by tours of the new facilities. Planning on the project began in 1999.

Drinks and food, including buffalo burgers, will be available at Saturday’s daylong event. On Friday night, the park’s friends group is hosting a reception and live auction, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the park or the First National Bank of Quitaque.

The 4,400-square-foot Visitor Center is part of a major park project that also includes a new group meeting pavilion, adjacent bison viewing platform overlooking the Texas State Bison Herd pasture, wayside signage, a parking lot and 24-hour restrooms. Exhibits to be installed later inside and outside the Visitors Center will interpret outstanding park features.

The visitor center also includes a State Park Store, storage space, lobby and registration area and park administrative offices. In addition, the project includes a park map, interpretive panels on bison conservation at the overlook and panels offering in-depth interpretation of park geology, selected park areas and various trails.

“The informative exhibits are being designed to create a concise and cohesive interpretive narrative about the cultural and natural resources of the state park, the Southern Plains Bison Herd and Caprock Canyons Trailway,” said park superintendent Deanna Oberheu. “A new sidewalk connects the center to the bison overlook, where we’ve installed telescopes to spot the Texas State Bison Herd in its native habitat.”

Caprock Canyons State Park features more than 14,000 acres of rugged but picturesque redrock canyonlands carved by tributaries of the Red River at the doorstep of the Texas Panhandle’s High Plains. Highlights include Lake Theo, 29 miles of trails, scenic campgrounds, a 64-mile trailway along an old railroad right of way that runs from Estelline to South Plains and surviving remnants of the only genetically pure herd of the Southern Plains bison descended from stock once owned by legendary Panhandle ranchers Charles and Mary Ann Goodnight.

Funding for the Visitor Center came from a variety of sources. This includes a significant donation from Buffalo Funds, a mutual fund family managed by Kornitzer Capital Management of Kansas, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Other monies came from Connolly Development Bonds, plus a federal highway grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

For more information about the celebration, call the park at (806) 455-1492.

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