Staff Report

Design work is underway to redevelop Sea Rim State Park whose facilities were damaged first by Hurricane Rita, rebuilt and

again destroyed in September 2008 by Hurricane Ike before the park could


According to park superintendent Tracy Ferguson, there is both

drive-on and pedestrian access to the beach. The ¾-mile Gambusia

Boardwalk also has been restored, and for the first time in park

history, seasonal equestrian use is being allowed from December through


“Even with limited facilities, it’s great to see the park open again

for public use,” Ferguson says. “If you’re looking for a primitive

escape along the gulf, you’ll find it on Sea Rim’s secluded five-mile

stretch of beach.”

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has developed a two-phase

master plan to redevelop the state park that the agency expects to begin

implementing next summer. Construction of some of the facilities is

expected to take a couple of years. The 81st Legislature provided $2

million for the recovery of Sea Rim State Park. So far, all storm debris

and destroyed facilities have been removed and the park has been

reopened on a limited basis.

All new park facilities, which will include a headquarters building

and a residence for park personnel, will be designed to meet state

building codes for hurricane resistance and conserve energy.

Though the park has limited services it is a great get away location

with five miles of Gulf Coast Beach access. The state park, which

currently offers only limited facilities such

as portable toilets and trash receptacles, is open for day use ($3) and

primitive camping ($10). Park fees are collected through a self-pay


The park was named for a portion of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline

where inland mud flats and tidal marshes meet the sea. The park

encompasses more than 4,000 acres of marshlands and more than five miles

of gulf shoreline. Highway 87 splits the park into the D. Roy

Harrington Beach Unit and the Marshlands Unit.

Phase I construction sets forth the construction of a boardwalk to

the beach, a maintenance building, park superintendent’s residence, two

public vault toilets, a limited potable water distribution system and a

wastewater collection and treatment system, according to Gary Kosut,

TPWD Infrastructure Division project manager for the Sea Rim

redevelopment. He says once work begins, it is expected to require nine

months to a year to complete.

In addition, the Texas Department of Transportation is slated to begin work at the park in 2012.

“The Texas Department of Transportation will reconstruct park roads

and parking lots for day-use visitors,” says Darrell Owens, the

Infrastructure Division’s TxDOT program manager. Roadway construction is

scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2012.”

The roadway system will include 15 pull-through RV camping sites with

electric, water and wastewater hookups. An unpaved equestrian unloading

area and trail to the beach also will be built.

Phase II of the redevelopment plan, which will provide for the

completed build-out of the park as detailed in the Sea Rim State Park

Redevelopment Master Plan, has not been funded. It calls for

construction of a headquarters building, camping area restroom with

showers, 10 tent platforms, a central water-wastewater facility, water

distribution system, a dune walkover, wildlife-viewing blind, equestrian

camping accessories and fish-cleaning shelter.

Sea Rim State Park, which opened to the public in 1977, has

traditionally drawn thousands of outdoor lovers, who come to fish,

sunbathe, paddle the marshlands, camp and observe the park’s great

diversity of birds and other wildlife. The park is located along the

Greater Texas Coastal Birding Trail and serves as a rest stop for

numerous species of migrating birds traversing the Central Flyway.

For more information about Sea Rim State Park, call park superintendent Tracy Ferguson at (409) 971-2559.