Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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Official Texas Parks and Wildlife Department logo
The headquarters of the department
A sign indicating the direction of the headquarters

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is a Texas state agency that oversees and protects wildlife and their habitats. In addition, the agency is responsible for managing the state's parks and historical areas. Its mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

The agency maintains its headquarters at 4200 Smith School Road in Austin.[1][2][3]


In 1895, the Texas Legislature created the Fish and Oyster Commission to regulate fishing. The Legislature added the Game Department to the commission in 1907. The Legislature created the State Parks Board as a separate entity in 1923. In 1963, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was formed through merger of the State Parks Board and the Game and Fish Commission.[4][5]

In 1983, the Texas legislature passed the Wildlife Conservation Act, giving the department the authority for managing fish and wildlife resources in all Texas counties.[5] The department operates 114 state parks/historical sites, 51 wildlife management areas, eight fish hatcheries, and numerous field offices statewide. On January 1, 2008, several historic sites formerly maintained by TPWD were transferred to the Texas Historical Commission.


The agency employs more than 3,500 permanent employees, and 300 interns every summer, from every field of study. Intern programs vary but are typically 12 weeks long and go from May until August.[6]

Game wardens undergo a 30 week course at TPWD's Texas Game Warden Training Center in rural Hamilton County, Texas.[7]

Game Warden Ranks[edit]

Title Insignia
US-O6 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
Chief Of Special Operations
US-O8 insignia.svg
Asst. Chief
US-O7 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
Game Warden


Boats & Licenses Building in Austin

The department is made up of eleven divisions:

  • Wildlife
  • Coastal Fisheries
  • Inland Fisheries
  • Law Enforcement - Game wardens and deputy game wardens primarily enforce the provisions of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code but are fully empowered peace officers with statewide jurisdiction and may make arrests for any offense.[8]
  • State Parks
  • Infrastructure
  • Legal
  • Administrative Resources
  • Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology

TPWD operates 93 parks and 140 offices across the state of Texas.


TPWD publishes a monthly magazine available both in print and online, known as TPW Magazine.[9] The magazine features articles about wildlife, State Parks, fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities.

Deceased officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division, 18 officers have died in the line of duty, including officers from the Texas Game and Fish Commission and the Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission, which merged into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.[10][11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Directions to TPWD Headquarters." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  2. ^ "Directions to TPWD Headquarters." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Retrieved on July 6, 2010.
  3. ^ "City of Austin Development Map Viewer." City of Austin. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  4. ^ "TPWD Activities and History". Accessed 26-Dec-2014
  5. ^ a b Smyri, Vivian Elizabeth "Texas Parks and Wildlife Department". The Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Accessed 26-Dec-2014 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "tsha" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ "TPWD Activities and History". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  7. ^ http://tpwd.texas.gov/warden/recruiting-careers/career
  8. ^ Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Section 11.019.
  9. ^ http://www.tpwmagazine.com/
  10. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page, TPWD Law Enforcement Division
  11. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page, Texas Game and Fish Commission
  12. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page, Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission

External links[edit]