I went to the Visitors Center and loaded up on maps and brochures.
I wanted to see the 1877 Tall Ship "Elissa". I didn't want to pay the $15.00 parking fee and you couldn't walk around and take pictures unless you paid an admission fee for the Texas Seaport Museum. I drove around the Strand area - it was mostly antique shops and restaurants and you had to pay for parking in that area, so I decided to get groceries and head over to the State Park. I stopped at Kroger's Grocery and signed up for their discount card, I was able to buy some gluten free and organic products and a gallon bottle of water was only 73 cents.
The State Park is not totally rebuilt after Hurricane Ike. Here is part of an article from the "The Islander Magazine" by Tom Behrens
The park was basically destroyed after Ike left town three years ago. The beachfront had moved in about 80 feet. Out of 150 campsites on the beach, there were only 36 left. The office building collapsed, and the day use areas were destroyed. On the bay side, all of the cabins and infrastructure - water and electric lines - were destroyed. The only thing surviving were some of the roads.
Phase One of rebuilding of the park will mainly feature work on the beach side.
The 81st legislative allocated approximately $12 million for Hurricane Ike recovery. Of that amount, $8 million is dedicated to the recovery of Galveston Island State Park.
Phase Two is aimed at the bay side of the park. "One of the missions we are striving to achieve is to become an educational park". "The environment we have here is so unique with beach on one side and the bay on the other. We really are a destination now for schools to come out and learn about the beach environment. We are looking to put a discovery/education center where the old amphitheater used to be."
Presently there are 36 beachside and 20 bayside RV sites with utilities and 10 tent camp sites on the bayside.
Plans could change dramatically pending the results of an executive office review, environmental assessment, National Historic Preservaton Act, Section 106 Review and when money is available.
With all of this red tape, no wonder the park is still not rebuilt, even with funds being dedicated to the park. I did see construction crews today building some covered picnic tables near the tent camping area. Here are pics of the building that were damaged.
I was not able to get a site on the beachside of the State Park. The bayside is very quiet and there are several walking trails. I really needed to have a bike and a kayak here, the walking paths are a distance from each other and there are several kayak launch points. Tuesday night I walked along the bay, there was a couple fishing and they said they were catching flounder. There was a large and a small stingray washed up on shore.
The visitors center and observation deck have not been rebuilt yet.
I had a view of the full moon out one window and of the sunset out the other window. Nice to be able to sit on my bed and see this.
On Wednesday morning I walked along the road, for about a half mile to a mile - the map does not tell how long it is - until I came to the walking trails. I walked for a couple of hours, starting out near the damaged buildings and then I walked the Clipper Rail Trail, the Caracara Trail and the Duck Lake Trail. This area has a lot of marshes and bayous so there are no trails leading out directly from the campsites, there is water directly behind the campsites.
Has anyone taken their RV on the ferry on the east end of Galveston Island?
This is a free ferry and the website states that they can carry 18 wheelers, so I'm assuming they will take RV's. They run 24 hours a day and the trip is 18 minutes long. I'm thinking of going this way when I leave Galveston.
I purchased an annual Texas State Parks Pass. When you pay for a campsite, you still have to pay an entrance fee into the park. The $60 pass gives you 5 - half price campsites if you book for at least 2 nights. I had made a reservation online for 2 nights, so I received half off the 2nd night for this stay. This pass will pay for itself if I stay at Texas State Parks at least 5 times over the next 12 months. And I can use the pass for day use at any of the parks and historical sites that charge a fee. The daily RV rate at this park - bayside was $20.