What is The Largest State Park in Texas?

What is The Largest State Park in Texas?TEXAS - Big Bend Ranch State Park, spanning over 300,000 acres in Texas, captivates with its remote and rugged beauty. Its prime location along the Rio Grande, close to the Mexican border, adds to its allure. Known as El Despoblado, meaning "The Uninhabited," this vast area has a surprisingly rich human history.

What is The Largest State Park in Texas?
What is The Largest State Park in Texas?

Big Bend Ranch State Park

The park's origins trace back to George A. Howard, who acquired land in the Bofecillos highlands in 1905. This became the Chillicothe-Saucita Ranch. The Bogel brothers, Gus, Gallie, Graves, and Edward, also contributed to the park's development by purchasing small ranches, including Howard's, in the 1910s. Their headquarters, Saucita, which still stands today, forms the heart of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

In 1934, the Bogel brothers sold their 38,000-acre ranch to Manny and Edwin Fowlkes, who expanded it to nearly 300,000 acres. They added critical infrastructure such as fences, stone dams, and water pipelines. However, droughts and a wool market crash in the 1950s forced them to sell.

Len G. "Tuffy" McCormick purchased the ranch in 1958, making it one of the 15 largest ranches in the United States. He made significant improvements, including granting an easement for the river access road, now the picturesque Camino del Rio.

Robert O. Anderson became the subsequent owner in 1969 and, as the owner of the Diamond A Cattle Company, became the most significant private landholder in the U.S. He later partnered with Walter Mischer to promote the ranch as a private hunting preserve in the 1980s.

Thanks to the dedication of various conservation groups, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acquired the ranch in 1988. The park opened partially to the public in 1991 and entirely in 2007, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate the wonders of Big Bend Ranch State Park.