Back to the boats: Some restrictions remain as state park slowly reopens

Bluebonnets, no longer at their peak, grow at the entrance to Johnson Branch State Park southeast of Valley View.

Johnson Branch unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park reopened its beach and day use areas Monday, May 4, Superintendent Greg Waller said.

The state park in southeastern Cooke County had closed those areas in March due to flooding. Staff cleaned the boat ramps last week and reopened them Saturday, May 2, with promises to reopen day use areas once flooding had drained there, too.

With parking reopened at the day use areas, the state park also increased its daily visitor capacity to 162 vehicles effective Monday, Waller said.

Capacity is currently limited by statewide restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Until Monday, the park had been limited to 60 vehicles per day. The park can normally accommodate over 600 vehicles, according to a previous Register report.

Overnight camping is still unavailable, Waller said Monday. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had shut down camping statewide as a precaution in light of the new coronavirus.

Day visitors are asked to make a reservation in advance to ensure they’re not shut out due to the park meeting its capacity limit that day.

Day use reservations may be completed either by calling the Customer Service Center at 512-389-8900 or visiting texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com. Annual state park pass holders will have their fees waived during the reservation process, a TPWD spokeswoman previously said.

Annual pass holders who log into the online reservation system but don’t see the fees waived should call the customer service center to ensure their pass is connected to the online reservation account, TPWD spokeswoman Stephanie Salinas Garcia said.

For updates, check the park’s Facebook page or call the park office at 940-637-2294. Johnson Branch unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park is located off Farm-to-Market Road 3002, southeast of Valley View.

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