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Rules & Regulations

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission regulations adopted 9-9-96, governing the health, safety and protection of persons and property within state parks, historical parks, scientific areas or forts, including encompassed waters, administered by the Parks and Wildlife Department and selected legislative enactments governing the use of state parks.


Litter Abatement Act

Revised Civil Statutes, Art. 4477-9a.

2.01 Disposing of Solid Waste.
(a) A person commits an offense if that person disposes of trash, junk, garbage, refuse, unsightly matter, or other solid waste on a public highway, right-of-way, other public or private property, or into inland or coastal waters of Texas without written consent of the owner, the owner's agent, or the public official in charge of the property or water.
(b) A person who commits an offense under this section is, on conviction, subject to a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $400.


Water Code

26.212 Criminal Offense.
Text of section effective upon delegation of NPDES permit authority
No person may discharge or cause or permit the discharge of any waste into or adjacent to any water in the state which causes or which will cause water pollution unless the waste is discharged in compliance with a permit or order issued by the department or the Railroad Commission of Texas.


Natural Resources Code

191.092 Other Sites, Artifacts, or Articles.
Sites, objects, buildings, artifacts, implements, and locations of historical, archeological, scientific, or educational interest, including those pertaining to prehistoric and historical American Indians or aboriginal campsites, dwellings, and habitation sites, their artifacts and implements of culture, as well as archeological sites of every character that are located in, on, or under the surface of any land belonging to the State of Texas or to any county, city, or political subdivision of the state are state archeological landmarks and are eligible for designation.

191.093 Prerequisites to Taking, Altering, Damaging, Destroying, Salvaging, or Excavating Certain Landmarks.
Landmarks under Section 191.092 of this code are the sole property of the State of Texas and may not be taken, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged, or excavated without a contract with or permit from the Antiquities Committee.

191.131 Contract or Permit Requirement.
(a) No person, firm, or corporation may conduct a salvage or recovery operation without first obtaining a contract.
(b) No person, firm or corporation may conduct an operation on any landmark without first obtaining a permit and having the permit in his or its possession at the site of the operation, or conduct the operation in violation of the provisions of the permit.

191.132 Damage or Destruction.
(a) No person may intentionally and knowingly deface American Indian or aboriginal paintings, hieroglyphics, or other marks or carvings on rock or elsewhere that pertain to early American Indian or aboriginal habitation of the country.
(b) A person who is not the owner shall not willfully injure, disfigure, remove, or destroy a historical structure, monument, marker, medallion, or artifact without lawful authority.

191.133 Entry Without Consent.
No person who is not the owner, and does not have the consent of the owner, proprietor, lessee, or person in charge, may enter or attempt to enter on the enclosed land of another and intentionally injure, disfigure, remove, excavate, damage, take, dig into, or destroy any historical structure, monument, marker, medallion, or artifact, or any prehistoric or historic archeological site, American Indian or aboriginal campsite, artifact, burial, ruin, or other archeological remains located in, on, or under any private land within the State of Texas.

191.171 Criminal Penalty.
(a) A person violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $1,000, by confinement in jail for not more than 30 days, or by both.
(b) Each day of continued violation of any provision of this chapter constitutes a separate offense for which the offender may be punished.


Motor Vehicle Laws

All Texas laws governing operation of motor vehicles are applicable within a state park.


Parks & Wildlife Code


Water Safety Act

All provisions of Title 4, Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31, Water Safety Act, apply to lakes and other waters in a unit of the state park system. Penalties for violation of the Water Safety Act are as set out in Title 4, Parks and Wildlife Code.

Go to "Water Safety Digest - A Digest of the Texas Water Safety Act" for more information.


General


62.061 Hunting in State Parks.
Except as authorized by the commission under Sec. 62.062, et. seq., no person may hunt a wild animal, wild bird, or wild fowl in a state park, fort, or historical park under the jurisdiction of the department. More information on fishing and hunting regulations.

13.112 Adoption of Penalties.
[Pursuant to this section, the Parks and Wildlife Commission has adopted the following penalties for violations of the succeeding regulations.]
Class C Parks and Wildlife Misdemeanor $25-$500.

13.108 Removal from Park.
(a) Any person directly or indirectly responsible for disruptive, destructive, or violent conduct which endangers property or the health, safety, or lives of persons or animals may be removed from a park, historical park, scientific area, or fort for a period not to exceed 48 hours.
(b) Prior to removal under this section, the person must be given notice of the provisions of this section and an opportunity to correct the conduct justifying removal.
(c) A court of competent jurisdiction may enjoin a person from reentry to the park, scientific area, site, or fort, on cause shown, for any period set by the court.

13.109 Enforcement of Regulations.
Regulations adopted under this subchapter may be enforced by any peace officer, including those employees of the department commissioned as peace officers under Section 11.109 of this code. A notice to appear may be issued by a peace officer for violation of a regulation on a form prescribed by the commission.


State Park Operational Rules

The succeeding regulations are adopted pursuant to authority granted by Sec. 13.101-13.112, Parks and Wildlife Code). Any person who violates these regulations will be subject to penalties prescribed by law.


59.131 Definitions.
The following words and terms when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  1. Arms and Firearms: Any device from which shot, a projectile, arrow, or bolt is fired by the force of an explosion, compressed air, gas or mechanical device. To include, but not limited to, rifle, shotgun, handgun, air rifle, pellet gun, longbow, cross bow, sling shot, blow gun, or dart gun.
  2. Bicycle: A device that a person may ride, that is propelled by human power, and has two tandem wheels at least one of which is more than 14 inches in diameter.
  3. Artifacts: Objects used or modified by humans, including but not limited to arrow points, dart points: stone, bone or shell implements or any other prehistoric or historic objects.
  4. Boat: A vessel not more than 65 feet in length, measured from end to end over the deck, excluding sheer, and manufactured or used primarily for noncommercial use.
  5. Camping: The act of:
    (A) occupying a designated camping facility;
    (B) erecting a tent, or arranging bedding, or both, for the purpose of, or in such a manner as will permit, remaining overnight; and/or
    (C) using a trailer, camper, or other vehicle for the purpose of sleeping during nighttime hours.
  6. Cultural features: Include but, are not limited to state archeological landmarks, archeological sites, historic sites and structures, pictographs and petroglyphs.
  7. Department: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  8. Director: The Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or his designee.
  9. Equine: A species of animal belonging to the family equidae, including horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules.
  10. Garbage: Trash, refuse, rubbish, household waste, medical waste, rubble, spoil, construction debris, yard clippings, offal, or any other similarly useless, noxious, or offensive material.
  11. Motor Vehicle: For purposes of this subchapter, a motor vehicle does not include a wheelchair, a motorized wheelchair or a motorized mobility device. A motor vehicle is a motor powered vehicle, including, but not limited to:
    (A) any motor driven or propelled vehicle required to be registered under the laws of this state;
    (B) an all-terrain vehicle as defined in Transportation Code, §502.001;
    (C) a motorcycle as defined in Transportation Code, §501.002 and §541.201;
    (D) a golf cart, as defined in Transportation Code, §502.001;
    (E) a moped as defined in Transportation Code, §541.201;
    (F) a neighborhood electric vehicle as defined in Transportation Code, §551.301;
    (G) a pocket bike or mini-motorbike, as defined in Transportation Code, §551.301;
    (H) an electric bicycle; or
    (I) a motor assisted scooter, as defined in Transportation Code, §551.301.
  12. Motorized mobility device: A device designed for transportation of persons with physical disabilities that:
    (A) has three or more wheels;
    (B) is propelled by a battery-powered motor;
    (C) has not more than one forward gear; and
    (D) is not capable of speeds exceeding eight miles per hour.
  13. Night: Any time from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
  14. Person: Natural persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, clubs, and all associations or combinations of persons acting individually, or by an agent, servant, or employee
  15. Pet: A domesticated companion animal accompanying a person who enters or uses a state park. In no event shall a pet under this subchapter include the following:
    (A) a dangerous wild animal, as defined in Health and Safety Code, §822.101;
    (B) wildlife;
    (C) livestock and exotic livestock as defined in Agriculture Code, §§1.003, 142.001, and 161.001;
    (D) any species of animal that is not ordinarily domesticated; or
    (E) any species of animal that a person may not legally possess.
  16. Plant life: All plants including trees, dead or downed wood, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grass, sedge, fern, moss, lichen, fungus, or any other member of the plant family.
  17. Public place: Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. The interior spaces of the following are not considered public places:
    (A) department cabins, screened shelters, recreation halls, group barracks, and lodges; and
    (B) tents, campers, trailers, motor homes, or any enclosed vehicle(s) that are used as camping equipment.
  18. State park: A park, park site, historical park, natural area, or fishing pier, administered, operated, or managed by the department.
  19. Unattended pet: A pet that is unaccompanied or not under immediate control. Pets tied or secured outside of camping equipment or buildings are not considered under immediate control.
  20. Wildlife: A species, including each individual of a species, that normally lives in state of nature is not ordinarily domesticated.

59.132 General Rules.
(a) Upon finding a need for public safety or welfare, or preservation of park resources, the director may impose restriction on public activity and conduct and may limit the use of any area or facility in a state park or a portion thereof. It is an offense for a person to enter or remain in an area or participate in an activity so restricted by the director.
(b) An employee of the Department, peace officers, and emergency personnel are exempt from this chapter when this chapter conflicts with the discharge of their official duties to the extent of that conflict.
(c) The director by written order may waive any provision of this subchapter in response to a natural disaster or other similar emergency.
(d) Any vehicle, boat, trailer, or other property found parked, stored, or left in a state park in violation of any law or rule may be removed and stored at the owner's expense.
(e) No person may enter a state park with an equine or equines, or cause the entry of an equine or equines to a state park, unless that person has in their immediate possession, for each equine in the person's custody or equine that the person allowed to enter the state park, a completed VS Form 10-11 (Texas Animal Health Commission) showing that the equine has tested negative to an official Equine Infectious Anemia test within the previous 12 months. The documentation required by this subsection shall be made available for inspection upon the request of any department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

59.133 Closing Hours and Overnight Use.
(a) The director may establish closing hours and opening hours for a state park or a portion of a state park. Closing hours or opening hours shall be posted.
(b) Except for persons duly authorized to use camping, trailer space, shelter, cabin or lodge facilities, or boat ramp, or for persons who have paid the overnight activity use fee, it is an offense for a person to enter into or remain within a state park between the closing hour and the opening hour.

59.134 Rules of Conduct:
(a) Abandoned and unattended property. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. abandon a vehicle or other personal property;
  2. leave a vehicle, boat, barge, or other property unattended in a unit of the state park system in such a manner as to create a hazardous or unsafe condition; or
  3. leave property unattended in a state park without having received prior permission from the director or to leave a vehicle unattended after the closing hour, unless such person is legally in the park after closing, and unless he has parked the vehicle in a place designated by the director or he has prior permission from the director.

(b) Alcoholic beverages. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. consume or display an alcoholic beverage in a public place; or
  2. sell alcoholic beverages within a state park.

(c) Animals. Except as provided in this subsection, it is an offense for any person to bring into a state park, possess while in a state park, or release into a state park any species of animal. A pet or equine may be brought into and possessed within a state park as provided in this subsection.

  1. Equine. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) ride, drive, lead, or keep equines, except in designated areas;
    (B) ride equines in a manner that is dangerous to a person or animal;
    (C) allow equines to stand unattended or insecurely tied; or
    (D) hitch equines to a tree, shrub, or structure in any manner that may cause damage.
  2. Pets. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) bring into, possess, or permit to roam within a state park a pet, unless the pet is secured by a leash not exceeding six feet in length, confined in a vehicle, or confined in a suitable cage;
    (B) bring into or possess within a state park an unattended pet;
    (C) fail to immediately collect and properly dispose of fecal material deposited by a pet for which a person is responsible. For purposes of this paragraph, “properly dispose” means to deposit fecal material in an appropriate solid waste collection container;
    (D) bring a pet into an area where pets are prohibited;
    (E) permit a pet (except a trained assistance animal accompanying a person with a disability) to enter into or remain in any building or enclosure designated for public use including, but not limited to, a restaurant, snack bar, cabin, lodge room, restroom, park store, shelter, refectory building, amphitheater, administration building, or railroad coach;
    (F) permit a pet in the water of a designated swimming area or to permit a pet animal (except a trained assistance animal accompanying a person with a disability) within the land or beach area adjacent to the water of a designated swimming area; or
    (G) possess a noisy, vicious, or dangerous pet, or a pet which creates a disturbance to or hazard within a state park;
  3. Wildlife. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) harm, harass, disturb, trap, confine, catch, possess, or remove any wildlife, or portions of wildlife from a unit of the state park system, except by a permit issued by the director or as provided by the Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 62, Subchapter D;
    (B) release any fish into the waters of any state park, except as authorized by the Parks and Wildlife Code; or
    (C) feed or offer food to any wildlife or exotic wildlife, or to leave food unsecured in a manner that makes the food available to wildlife or exotic wildlife, unless specifically authorized by the department. The feeding of birds may be permitted on a park-by-park basis as prescribed by the department.

(d) Arms and Firearms. It is an offense for any person to display or discharge an arm or firearm in a state park, unless:

  1. the person is participating in a public hunting activity within the state park that has been authorized by written order of the director so long as the person is in compliance with the applicable public hunting rules and regulations; or
  2. the person has been authorized by written order of the director.

(e) Closed Area. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. prevent or interfere with development, construction, or management of a state park; or
  2. enter or remain in an area of a state park that has been closed by the director for any reason, including security, safety, preservation, or restoration.

(f) Entrance and User Fees: It is an offense for any person to enter, use, or occupy a facility in any portion of a state park for which a fee has been established, unless the person has first paid the fee or satisfied the requirements of the fee, has received an entrance/use permit issued by the department, and has attached the permit to their vehicle as and when required by the permit. If the office is closed, payment must be made according to posted instructions or signage.
(g) Facilities Use. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. use an area or facility for any purpose contrary to its designated purpose; or
  2. keep, use, or arrange a motor vehicle, trailer, camping, or other equipment except as specified by the director. All vehicles and trailers are restricted to designated roads and parking areas, unless otherwise specified by permit;
  3. enter into, or remain in, an area or facility for which a public use limit has been established when such action will have the effect of exceeding the established limitations;
  4. exceed the public use limit establishing a maximum number of persons and, if appropriate, the number and type of motor vehicles, trailers, and equipment permitted to enter into, or remain in, a designated area or facility at any time;
  5. continue to occupy a facility past check-out time when a check-out time has been established by the director; or
  6. engage in camping except as authorized by permit in areas designated or marked for that purpose.

(h) Fires, Firewood, Smoking and Fireworks. Portable gas-fueled camp stoves may be used in designated campsites or picnic areas; however, it is an offense for any person to:

  1. light, build, or maintain a fire within a state park except in a facility or device provided, maintained, or designated for such purposes or to smoke or build fires when an extreme fire hazard has been posted by the department or a burn ban has been instituted by local government ordinance;
  2. gather firewood except when authorized by permit;
  3. leave a fire unattended; or
  4. possess within a state park any fireworks, explosives, or similar devices capable of explosion, or to discharge, set off, or cause to be discharged in or into a state park any such device or substance, except with written authorization from the director.

(i) Metal detector. It is an offense for any person to operate or use a metal detector, except as authorized by permit.
(j) Minors and children.

  1. A person younger than 15 years who enters a state park, must be supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult over the age of 17 years at all times.
  2. A person 15 years or older, but younger than 17 years may not enter or remain in a state park during overnight hours unless:
    (A) the person is supervised by a parent, legal guardian or other responsible person over the age of 17 years; or
    (B) the person furnishes written consent of a parent or legal guardian to park personnel at the state park headquarters. For purposes of this subsection, written consent consists of a statement from a parent or legal guardian authorizing the person to enter the park and stating the full name, residence address, and telephone number of the parent or legal guardian; or
    (C) the person is legally married.
  3. For purposes of this subsection, a person who is required by this subsection to be supervised and is part of a group will be considered supervised by a parent, legal guardian or other responsible person if there is at least one supervising adult over the age of 17 years for every 15 persons for whom supervision is required by this subsection.
  4. For purposes of this subsection, “overnight hours” is the time between a state park’s closing time and opening time.
  5. It is an offense for a parent, legal guardian or other responsible person charged with supervision of a person under 17 years of age to permit the person under 17 years of age to violate a regulation contained in this subchapter.

(k) Motor Vehicle Use, Possession and Operation.

  1. Operation. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) operate a motor vehicle in a state park except on roads, driveways, parking areas, and areas designated as open for motor vehicle use;
    (B) operate a motor vehicle in a state park if the motor vehicle is not licensed and inspected as required by the Texas Transportation Code or other law regarding the operation of motor vehicles, except as specifically authorized by permit; or
    (C) operate a motor vehicle in a state park in a manner not authorized by the Texas Transportation Code or other laws regarding the operation of motor vehicles.
  2. Parking. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) park a motor vehicle or trailer in a state park except in areas designed, constructed, or designated for that purpose; or
    (B) park, store, or leave a motor vehicle or trailer in violation of this section when signs have been posted in the affected areas.
  3. Speed Limit. It is an offense for any person to drive a motor vehicle within a state park at a speed:
    (A) greater than is reasonable or prudent, having due regard for the traffic and the road conditions then existing;
    (B) that endangers the safety of persons or property; or
    (C) that exceeds the posted speed limit in any portion of the state park system.
  4. Traffic. It is an offense for any person to:
    (A) operate a motor vehicle in a state park between the park closing hour and 6 a.m. opening hour, except for emergency or necessary purposes; or
    (B) operate a motor vehicle in an indiscriminate or unnecessary manner (cruising).
  5. Trail use. It is an offense for any person to operate or use a motor vehicle or a bicycle on an unpaved road, trail, or path not designated and posted for use by such a motor vehicle or bicycle or use the trail in a manner that is dangerous to a person or animal.

(l) Natural and Cultural Resources.

  1. Plant life. It is an offense for any person to willfully mutilate, injure, destroy, pick, cut, remove, or introduce any plant life except by permit issued by the director.
  2. Geological features. It is an offense for any person to take, remove, destroy, deface, tamper with, or disturb any rock, earth, soil, gem, mineral, fossil, or other geological deposit except by permit issued by the director.
  3. Cultural resources. It is an offense for any person to take, remove, destroy, deface, tamper with, disturb, or otherwise adversely impact any prehistoric or historic resource, including but not limited to, buildings, structures, cultural features, rock art, or artifacts, except by written order of the director.

(m) Peace and quiet. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. disturb other persons in sleeping quarters or in campgrounds between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
  2. cause, create, or contribute to any noise which is broadcast, or caused to be broadcast, into sleeping quarters or campgrounds, or which emits sound beyond the person's immediate campsite, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., whether by shouting or singing, by using a radio, phonograph, television, or musical instrument, or by operating mechanical or electronic equipment;
  3. use electronic equipment, including electrical speakers, at a volume which emits sound beyond the immediate individual camp or picnic site at any time without specific permission of the director; or
  4. create a disturbance capable of negatively affecting other park users by causing excessive noise by any means. Specific allowable noise levels for specific parks or parts of parks may be established by written order of the director.

(n) Public Nudity. It is an offense for any person to disrobe or appear nude in public. Females are considered to be disrobed when their breasts below the top of the areola are exposed except when nursing a baby.

(o) Soliciting. It is an offense for any person to solicit funds or donation of any item, or offer to sell any goods, wares, merchandise, liquid, or edibles, or render any service for hire, or distribute written material, in a state park, except by authority of a concession agreement approved by the director.

(p) Water Recreation. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. engage in water skiing, surf boarding while being towed, towing a person or a similar device, or operate a motorized ski device on lakes of less than 650 surface acres located in a state park;
  2. enter water or swim in an area closed for that activity;
  3. swim at night unless otherwise posted;
  4. introduce, carry into, or possess, use, break, dispose of, throw, or abandon any glass container in the water of a swimming area, swimming pool, or in the beach area adjacent to the water of a swimming area;
  5. moor, dock, or berth a boat or any other object between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except in mooring areas designated by the director; or
  6. moor, dock, or berth a commercial vessel at any part of a state park except by permit from the director.

(q) Water, Wastewater, Sewage, and Garbage. It is an offense for any person to:

  1. deposit waste water, sewage, or effluent from sinks, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures directly on the ground or into the water;
  2. use any water fountain, drinking fountain, pool, sprinkler, reservoir, lake or any other water body contained in the park for bathing, laundering, and washing dishes, pets, or vehicles (including trailers);
  3. deposit fish parts at any location except park fish cleaning facilities;
  4. discard, deposit, or dump garbage in a state park, except for:
    (A) garbage generated inside the park during the course of park visitation; or
    (B) an amount of garbage consistent with what ordinarily would accumulate in a vehicle in the course of a day's travel;
  5. dispose of garbage except in a receptacle provided for that use or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by department personnel; or
  6. use water provided by the state park for purposes other than drinking, washing or culinary uses.

59.135 Vehicles, Trailers, Motor Homes, Camping Equipment, or Personal Belongings.
All vehicles, trailers, motor homes, camping equipment, or personal belongings may be removed at the owner's expense when exceeding the check-out time limitation of a facility.

59.136 Penalties.
Penalties for violations of 59.132 - 59.134 of this title (relating to General Rules, Closing Hours and Overnight Use, and Rules of Conduct) are Class C Misdemeanors as provided in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.112.


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