FAIRFIELD, Texas – Texas legislators have made another leap forward in an effort to save a state park from being turned into a multimillion-dollar home community with a private golf course.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously voted to authorize Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) executive director to take all necessary steps to purchase approximately 5,000 acres in Freestone County, including Fairfield Lake State Park, according to a press release.
Fairfield Lake State Park is a 1,460-acre park within the roughly 5,000-acre property.
The potential purchase of Fairfield Lake State Park and its adjacent acreage has received bipartisan support from members of the Texas House of Representatives and the Senate.
“This action reinforces the continued commitment and support of state leadership, TPW Commission and TPWD to saving the park while adding new park land for all Texans now and in the future,” the press release states.
Texas-based energy company, Vistra, put the entire acreage on the market several years ago for $110.5 million before private Dallas-based firm Todd Interests purchased it.
Officials with Todd Interests previously indicated there was no more room for discussion about the parkland, which was first leased to the state by the utility company in the early 1970s. TPWD leased the land for decades before it was put up for sale.
“Named after 2,400-acre Fairfield Lake, it sees an average 80,000 visitors a year and is known for activities such as horseback riding, family reunions, paddling, fishing, camping and hiking,” TPWD officials said about Fairfield Lake State Park. “Visitation has increased significantly in the last four years – up from 58,991 in 2019. TPWD has committed $70 million in infrastructure, including buildings, barns, residences, roads, utilities and a boat ramp.”
The lake is known for some of the biggest bass in Texas and has produced 69 lunkers for the TPWD’s Toyota Sharelunker Program since 2020, making it one of the most productive fisheries maintained by TPWD.
The park was briefly closed in late February after the announcement that the land had sold but reopened in March.
“TPWD is grateful to the more than 5,700 visitors who supported the park since the gates were reopened in March and looks forward to having the chance to welcome more Texans in the future,” officials said.