Wonderfully rich indeed, in beauty spots, is Texas!
Governor Pat Neff, 1925

From mountains and pine forests to grasslands and sandy beaches, Texas is “wonderfully rich indeed” when it comes to natural beauty. It is also one of the only states to retain ownership of its public lands—a circumstance that threatened to leave Texas out of the national park movement that emerged in the late nineteenth century. If the state were to preserve its many natural wonders, to offer itself as an attractive destination for vacationing motorists, Texans themselves had to take action. 

Combining government and promotional films, public television, home movies, and more, PARKS UNDER THE LONE STAR takes visitors on a visual journey through the state and national parks of Texas. Highlights from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image collection not only document the diverse natural resources the parks protect and the variety of outdoor experiences they deliver but also profiles the many people who made and continue to make a Texas park system available for generations to come. 

What the selection of archival footage does not fully capture tells another important story. For while Texas parks are “picturesque places of native charm and surpassing beauty,” as Governor Pat Neff praised, they are also sites with conflicted pasts, from the violent displacement of Indigenous people to international border disputes to the injustices of racial segregation. PARKS UNDER THE LONE STAR seeks to record the grandeur of Texas state and national parks while still recognizing this complex heritage.