Latest Blog Posts

  • Before you come to E Rock

    Enchanted Rock SNA is one of the most wonderful places in the great state of Texas.  However, other people know this, too.  Here is some advice from a Friend:

    Don’t come on Saturday.  E Rock is special and worth your time for a weekday visit.  The park gets slammed on most nice Saturdays, and you may find a long line outside the park waiting for entry, or the park may be closed to new visitors.  There are about 400 parking spaces, and they often fill up before noon.

    Don’t automatically bring your dog.   You probably love your dog as much as we at the Friends love ours, but dogs are limited to the day use areas and the Loop Trail, and not allowed on the domes and the climbing areas.  You are not allowed to leave a dog unattended, as in your campsite or car.  Dogs must be leashed at all times.

    Sometimes the park is out of water in some places.  Some bathrooms may be out of commission as well.  Bring re-usable bottles and use our bottle filling stations, or bring your own water from home.  The bottle filling stations were purchased with a grant from our friends at Chaco and Whole Earth Provision Company.

    Pick up your trash.  This seems like a given, but the park expects 360,000 visitors this year, and some of them don’t get it.  Pick up other people’s trash, too, and when you do, be sanctimonious about it.  Help the non-believers get the message.

    Use our recycling bins.  We spent good money on them and have volunteers who sort and recycle. During only two weeks of spring break this year, 269 pounds of plastic was recycled.  Annually that number is over 3,000 pounds.   The recycling bins were purchased with a grant from our friends at Chaco and Whole Earth Provision Company.  Lets not send this to the landfill.

    Bring the kids.  Introduce the next generation to the wonders of the natural world.  Show them how to read the trail map.  Pick up a guide to flowers and birds and see what you can identify.

    Treat the park with reverence.  E Rock is a treasure and our mission is to pass it down to future generations just like it is today.

     

  • Solar Power at E Rock

    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) recently received a 41 solar panel, 12-kilowatt array thanks to a $40,000 donation from Green Mountain Energy.Green Mountain Energy Sun Club donated the funds used to purchase and install the solar array for the park’s headquarters and the switch was turned on, on Thursday, April 14.Doug Cochran, ERSNA superintendent, said this is another successful step toward going green.  “My vision is for Enchanted Rock to be the greenest park in Texas,” Cochran said. “We have made significant progress in limiting water usage, installing LED lights, removing unnecessary lighting, recycling and installing water bottle filling stations. Our partners, Friends of Enchanted Rock, Whole Earth Provisions Company and Chaco Shoes, are making this vision become a reality through fundraising and donations.”  Enchanted Rock is the 20th Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) location to have solar panels installed. The closest one is the Kerr Wildlife Management Area in Hunt.

    The first solar panels were installed at the Sheldon Environmental Learning Center (Houston area) in 2005 through a grant from the State of Texas Energy Conservation Office.  The solar panels are expected to save the park in money as well as energy.  “It will supply about 50 percent of the energy used, saving approximately $100,000 for the park over the life of the system,” TPWD Sustainability Programs Manager Andee Chamberlain said. In 2011, the Department of Energy and State of Texas Energy Conservation Office donated nearly $4 million to TPWD to install solar panels at 19 facilities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) economic stimulus package, Chamberlain said. Since then, TPWD has become extremely “green”.  “In 2015, we developed our first five-year Sustainability Plan,” Chamberlain said. “We are working among all of our organizational divisions, including State Parks, Wildlife, Coastal and Inland Fisheries, Law Enforcement, Administration and Infrastructure to be better environmental stewards.” “The solar panels at ERSNA will be an easy way to educate the public, while maintaining a high ‘green’ perspective,” Chamberlain added.  “The addition of the solar array at the park’s welcome center will allow visitors to learn about sustainability and alternative energy before they start exploring this natural wonder,” Cochran said. “Enchanted Rock is part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, an organization that places a priority on sustainability and whose goals align with the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club’s mission.”

    The sun club’s mission has remained the same since 1997: use the power of consumer choice to change the way power is made.

    CUTLINE: Turning on the switch for the new 12-kilowatt solar array at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) park headquarters are, from left, Dawn Heikkila, deputy executive director of policy and administration for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TPWD Sustainability Programs Manager Andee Chamberlain, Green Mountain Sun Club Executive Director Jason Sears and ERSNA Superintendent Doug Cochran. The ceremony took place at ERSNA on Thursday, April 14. — Standard-Radio Post/Scott Allen