Helping Create a New State Park

Dean ParsonsDean Parsons grew up in Palo Pinto County, about 75 miles west of Fort Worth. As a boy he explored the hills and canyons of Wiles Canyon, part of the Palo Pinto Mountain Breaks.

"It was so beautiful and wild," recalled Parsons. "We would hike up and down the canyons and just explore. I can remember one time running for miles, just running through these hedgerows of live oak, full of deer. You've never seen such a scatter in all your life! It was a real thrill."

Now, that same area is at the heart of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, which was acquired by the state of Texas back in 2011. Parsons sold 1,300 acres of land that he obtained in a legal settlement over the tragic death of his son. "I knew I had a onetime shot at making this happen," Parsons reflected. Other parcels of land around that tract were also purchased for the park, which now totals more than 4,600 acres of pristine land that will one day be open for all to enjoy.

"Sometimes good things can come out of the worst situations," said Parsons. "I am so happy that this beautiful land that I enjoyed as a child will be a park forever."

Parsons and his wife, Alice, have enjoyed many a state park over the years and were able to visit Palo Pinto Mountains State Park for a special star party a few years ago. The visit was bittersweet, because Parsons was diagnosed with cancer soon after the visit. That's when he and his wife began planning their estate in earnest. They read about Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in a magazine and decided that their assets would be gifted to TPWF after their death to benefit Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.

"Leaving our estate to help support Palo Pinto Mountains State Park will benefit everyone. To know that we helped build it and that the money we received from the settlement will go to that, is comforting," said Parsons. "I know that Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation will appreciate it and put it to good use."