Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Official Texas Game Warden Badge
Flag of the State of Texas
Flag of the State of Texas
Agency overview
Formed1963; 61 years ago (1963)
Preceding agencies
  • The State Parks Board
  • The Game and Fish Commission
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionTexas, U.S.
Map of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's jurisdiction
Size268,820 square miles (696,240 km2)
Population27,469,114 (2015 est.)[1]
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersAustin, Texas, United States
Game Wardens493[2]
Park Police Officers170[2]
Agency executive
  • Carter Smith[3], Executive Director
tpwd.texas.gov Edit this at Wikidata
The headquarters of the department in Austin
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.[4]

The agency maintains its headquarters at 4200 Smith School Road in Austin, Texas.[5][6][7]


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.[8]

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. The department operates 95 state parks and historic sites, 51 wildlife management areas, eight fish hatcheries, and numerous field offices statewide. On January 1, 2008, and September 1, 2019, TPWD transferred management of several historic sites to the Texas Historical Commission.[9]

Budget, staff[edit]

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.[10]

Game wardens and Park Police Officers undergo a 30-week course at TPWD's Texas Game Warden Training Center in rural Hamilton County.[11]


Boats & Licenses Building in Austin

The department is made up of 12 divisions:[12]

  • Coastal Fisheries
  • Communications
  • Financial Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Inland Fisheries
  • Law Enforcement - Game wardens primarily enforce the provisions of the TPW Code but are fully empowered peace officers with statewide jurisdiction and may make arrests for any offense.[13]
  • Legal
  • State Parks - includes Park Police Officers
  • Support Resources
  • Wildlife



TPWD publishes Texas Parks and Wildlife, a monthly magazine available both in print and online editions. The magazine features articles and full-color photos on topics such as birding, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, state parks, travel, wildlife, and environmental issues. Texas Parks and Wildlife has been in publication since 1942.[14]

Television programs[edit]

Texas Parks & Wildlife is a weekly, half-hour television series aired on Texas PBS stations, as well as on a number of other PBS stations around the country. Viewers can stream episodes on the PBS website and on the TPWD YouTube channel. Originally titled Made in Texas, the series began production in 1985 as a magazine style show, with three or four different segments each week. For several years, the show focused on one topic each week, documentary style. In 1991, the name of the series changed to Texas Parks & Wildlife and reverted to its original magazine format.[15]

Beginning in June 2016, TPWD Game Wardens were featured in a new reality television series on Animal Planet titled Lone Star Law.

Radio program and podcast[edit]

Passport to Texas is a daily series broadcast on radio stations throughout Texas. The series includes 90 second radio spots on topics, including wildlife, state parks, and outdoor activities.[16]

Under the Texas Sky features outdoor experiences of both everyday people and experts from inside and outside TPWD. [17]

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation[edit]

Founded in 1991, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is the nonprofit funding partner of TPWD. Overseen by a board of trustees and administered by full- and part-time staff members, the foundation has raised over $205 million since its inception to ensure all Texans can enjoy, explore, and be inspired by the wild things and wild places in Texas.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". U.S. Census Bureau. December 23, 2015. Archived from the original (CSV) on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "News Release: Aug. 2, 2016: TPWD Graduates 46 Texas Game Wardens and State Park Police Officers - TPWD". tpwd.texas.gov.
  3. ^ "Executive Director — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Mission & Philosophy — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Directions to TPWD Headquarters Archived 2014-11-20 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  6. ^ "Directions to TPWD Headquarters." Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Retrieved on July 6, 2010.
  7. ^ "City of Austin Development Map Viewer Archived 2008-08-01 at the Wayback Machine." City of Austin. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  8. ^ "Agency History — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  9. ^ "News Release: Aug. 12, 2019: Six Texas State Parks and Historic Sites Transfer to the Texas Historical Commission Sept. 1 - TPWD". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  10. ^ "TPWD Activities and History". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2006-09-11.
  11. ^ "Career Opportunities — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov.
  12. ^ "Administration and Divisions — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department". tpwd.texas.gov.
  13. ^ "PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE CHAPTER 11. PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT". www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us.
  14. ^ http://www.tpwmagazine.com/about/Retrieved[permanent dead link] on March 5, 2016.
  15. ^ "Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: About". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Passport to Texas » About the Passport to Texas Radio Series". passporttotexas.org. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "About Under the Texas Sky". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Our Story". www.tpwf.org. Retrieved March 5, 2016.

External links[edit]