Walt Dabney’s Life in Parks

This is Passport to Texas

11—My colleague who was the director at Utah state parks, when he heard I was taking this job said: do you have any clue what you’re getting into. And in retrospect I didn’t.

Good thing, too, because if Walt Dabney had known the condition in which he’d find Texas state parks 11 Years ago, he might have passed on the director’s job.

14—The people were incredible, but the conditions of the park system was absolutely applauding. We didn’t have any money; we were very understaffed in many places. Many of our facilities were in very bad shape.

Dabney hit the ground running and never looked back.

18—We got to work. And when I say ‘we,’ this isn’t a Walt deal. This is all of us pulling together, really working hard. And then about five years ago, the legislature did start to understand that their park system was in deep trouble. And since that time we really have started turning it around.

With an infusion of funding from the legislature, equipment, facilities, staffing, interpretive programs, and park law enforcement improved.

14—We’ve gotten repair funds, we’re making great progress there. We’ve added program support where we have the professional capability in-house now to support the things you need to do to run a great park system.

After more than a decade at the helm of Texas State Parks, and more than 40 years in the state park business, Walt Dabney is retiring. That’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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