My husband and I love to go camping, In fact, we just got back from a big camping trip at Cooper Lake State Park near Sulpher Springs. That's why it is so exciting to see that the Texas State Parks could be receiving a big reward soon.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) along with the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration have narrowed down their finalist for the 2023 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management and the Texas State Parks are one of the four finalists.

Man is sitting around a campfire and just relaxing, snow on the ground

Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks stated in a press release;

“I’m proud to have the hard work of our Texas State Park staff recognized for building one of the best state park systems in the country. It is an honor for Texas State Parks to be nationally recognized for our efforts to welcome all Texans and preserve the gems of Texas for all generations.”



The Texas State Parks will be competing against three other state park systems for this big national award. They are up against Missouri State Parks, Ohio State Parks and Watercraft; and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails. We will find out who the honors will go to in October at the NRPA conference that will be held in Dallas.


The Gold Medal Awards program started in 1965 as a way to honor the park and recreation communities in the United States with their long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. There are seven different categories for the different types of park systems. Five classes are based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and the other class is awarded on odd-numbered years, for state park systems.

Female paddleboarding at sunrise

And this honor comes at a perfect time too, with Texas State Parks celebrating their Centennial year.

Franklin said,

“The fact that we were named a finalist among peer institutions across the country really highlights the progress we have made over the past century to fulfill then-Gov. Pat Neff’s vision of a Texas dotted with state parks ‘to be held in sacred trust by the State for the public good, now and forever.’”

Win or lose in October this honor is truly something to be very proud of.

Find out more about Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration events, camping or a day visit at

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