Monahans Sandhills State Park
|State Park of Texas|
Sandhills at sunrise
|Counties||Ward / Winkler|
|Nearest town||Monahans, Texas|
|Elevation||840 m (2,756 ft)|
|Area||15.5 km2 (6 sq mi)|
|Management||Texas Parks and Wildlife Department|
The Monahans Sandhills State Park is a 3,840-acre (1,554 ha) state park located in the southern Llano Estacado in Ward County and Winkler County, Texas. The closest major town is Monahans, Texas, and the closest limited-access highway ingress is Exit 86 on Interstate 20.
Monahans Sandhills State Park is noted for the presence of sand dunes up to 70 feet (21 m) high. Although desert-like, the Monahans Sandhills are not a desert; they are a part of a semi-arid ecosystem (average annual rainfall 12.3 inches (310 mm)) characterized by the presence of both groundwater and relatively nutrient-poor windblown sand. The Shinoak (Quercus havardii) is a local climax shrub, an unusual type of oak tree which because of local conditions often achieves full growth of only 4 feet (1.2 m) in height. Most of a Shinoak's biomass exists in the form of a lengthy root system reaching down to groundwater. If a Monahans sand dune has become stabilized and has stopped blowing about in the wind, that is often because a small grove of Shinoaks have stabilized the dune with their extensive root systems. Despite the sterility of the landscape, various rodents are relatively common, and several packs of Sandhills coyotes feed upon them.
Much of the Monahans Sandhills are privately owned property. The state of Texas is operating a 99-year lease with the Sealy-Smith Foundation for the ranch on which most of the land of the state park is located; the park opened to the public in 1957, and the state park has leasehold rights to this parcel of the sand hills until 2056.
- Handbook of Texas: Monahans Sandhills State Park
- Sibley Nature Center: Monahans Sandhills
- Photos of the Llano Estacado
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