Balmorhea State Park
|Balmorhea State Park|
|Location||Reeves County, Texas, United States|
|Area||46 acres (19 ha)|
|Visitors||51,993 (in 2007)|
|Governing body||Texas Parks and Wildlife Department|
Balmorhea State Park is a 46-acre (19 ha) state park located on the San Solomon Springs in Reeves County, Texas, opened in 1968. The closest city is Balmorhea, Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages the park. The park is open year-round, and visitation is capped at 900 people per day.
The main feature of the park is the 1.3-acre (0.53 ha), 3.5-million-US-gallon (13,000 m3) freshwater pool built around the springs. It is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The spring has a constant flow of 22 to 28 million US gallons (110,000 m3) a day so no chlorination is required. The water temperature ranges from 72 to 76 °F (22 to 24 °C) and up to 30 feet (9.1 m) deep. The pool bottom is flat in the more shallow areas and has a more natural rock bottom in the deeper areas. The pool is used for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
The Texas State Parks Board bought San Solomon Springs and the surrounding land in 1934. Company 1856 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the pool between 1934 and 1941 as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression as a way to open up jobs for people needing work. The CCC also built San Solomon Springs Courts, which rents rooms available for overnight stays. Camping and recreational vehicle sites are also available. A private concessionaire operated the facility until 1968, when the Parks and Wildlife Department took over management, and it became part of the state parks system.
The Balmorhea State Park Cienega Project, started in 1995, recreated a desert wetland in the park. The original cienega was lost when the CCC channeled water from the springs in to the pool. The cienega now serves as a habitat for endangered fish such as the Comanche Springs pupfish and Pecos gambusia as well as other aquatic life, birds and other animals.
In early 2018, a wall in the pool around the diving board collapsed, and the pool was shut down. Houston-based Apache Corporation pledged to match all donations made to repair the pool up to one million dollars. The goal was reached in about four months. Sixty percent of the donations were under $100, however, other Texas companies made significant contributions, including Saulsbury Industries, Texas Pacific Land Trust, McCoy Remme Ranches, Legend Energy Services, Pioneer Energy Services and Garrison Brothers Distillery. Apache Corporation also established a one million dollar endowment fund for the park.
The pool reopened March 1, 2019 after repairs to the pool were completed. Only day-use facilities were available while the renovation of San Solomon Courts and campgrounds were still under way.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shut the park again on September 3, 2019 to repair the park's failing septic system and again in January 2021 for further repairs "for the foreseeable future." The park partially reopened in June 2021 with the swimming area reopening.
- "Balmorhea State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets". Window on State Government. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "Balmorhea State Park to receive $2 million pool repairs". oaoa.com. AIM Media TX LLC. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- LeBlanc, Pamela. "Balmorhea State Park to Close Again, This Time for Septic System Repairs". texashighways.com. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- "Balmorhea Closure Extended Due to Ongoing Construction". tpwd.texas.gov. Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved 28 February 2021.