Candy and Steve Allmand: For the Love of Parks and Wildlife

Candy and Steve Allmand

Candy and Steve at Mount Rushmore

Candy and Steve Allmand are thoroughly enjoying their retirement years together. Their travels take them to many places in the United States, and visiting parks is high on their list of things to do. Whether taking in the breathtaking sight of Mount Rushmore, enjoying bison and other majestic wildlife in Yellowstone, or the quiet beauty and spectacular vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Allmands love the wild things and wild places that make America such a wonderful place to live.

Candy among the bluebonnets

A fifth-generation Central Texan, Candy’s love for nature and the outdoors is as firmly entrenched as the bluebonnets that adorn the highways and byways of the Hill Country every spring. As a child, playtime equaled time outdoors. Her family had a small farm just outside of Liberty Hill where she and her sister delighted in wading the clear shallow waters of the North San Gabriel River, while their mother fished nearby with a cane pole. Candy’s parents inspired her commitment to conservation.

“Long before we were concerned with pollution, carbon footprints, climate change, being eco-friendly, or going green, my parents were living quiet, modest, frugal lives,” she recalled. “They were great believers in ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.’ We never left trash in a park; we didn’t buy things we didn’t need; we respected animals and their right to have a place to live. My dad was always planting trees or repurposing old lumber into new corrals or gates. The value of conservation and caring for our natural environment wasn’t really discussed in our house, but it was lived every single day.”

Steve grew up in rural Mississippi and Oklahoma, surrounded by landscapes that encouraged outdoor adventures. He moved to Texas as an adult, and in 1978 a friend invited him to try something he had never done before – wade fishing for redfish and trout.

“The sunrise over the lower Laguna Madre, the absolute quiet, and tying into my first bull red hooked me, literally and figuratively,” he said.

Steve and Candy met in Dallas while both working for the Internal Revenue Service. Their careers brought them back to Central Texas where they married in 1982. Exploring Texas State Parks has always been something they’ve done together.

“We are blessed with an abundance of state parks and wildlife areas in Texas,” said Steve. “Inks Lake, Longhorn Caverns, and Enchanted Rock are all favorites. Washington-on-the-Brazos adds a wonderful element of history for visitors as the place where modern Texas was born, and the splendor of Big Bend State Park is unparalleled.”

Steve and Candy are generous with their support of the things they care about. They recently supported a renovation project at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, and they’ve also included Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in their estate plan.

“I’ve admired the work of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for years, while boating, hunting, fishing, and visiting state parks and wildlife areas,” said Steve. “Supporting the work of a foundation designed to further the work of that vital agency was an easy decision for us.

“Giving ordinary citizens of Texas a way to pool private funds and make a real difference in conserving and improving our natural resources – that’s work we want to be a part of,” agreed Candy.

Candy and Steve are partners in everything they do. Their latest project involves restoring a 150-acre tract of land just south of Austin, an area adjacent to IH-35 that is completely surrounded by subdivisions and development.

“Helping to preserve the forests, wetlands, wildlife and wild places that we still have before they are forever lost to development or pollution is a big priority for us,” said Candy. “We are grateful that Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists are available to provide support to private landowners.”

“We approach most activities as a team, and this most recent project to convert an overgrazed, neglected ranch into a wildlife management operation really recharges my desire to conserve our resources for future Texans,” said Steve.

The Allmands will spend a lot of time working on their wildlife management project in the coming months and years, but they won’t be neglecting their travels to parks. In fact, they have resolved to spend more time in Texas State Parks and will be visiting as many as they can in the years ahead. In the meantime, they have words of advice for others who love the wild things and wild places of Texas:

“If we don’t take active steps now, to conserve and use our resources wisely, they will go away,” said Steve. “As our population increases, more pressure is put on our land and wildlife. Only by wise investment will we have a future that includes what has made Texas the natural place that it is.”

“It has never been as important as it is now to support Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation,” said Candy. “It’s easy, so do it now!”

Learn more about how you can leave a wild legacy for Texas.