August 16, 2018 500 AM
BALMORHEA – Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) has established a fund to raise $2 million for pool repairs at Balmorhea State Park. Apache Corporation is providing a challenge grant and will match gifts up to $1 million.
The iconic spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas has been closed since early May after part of the structure collapsed during the pool’s annual cleaning. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) announced in a press release last week that repairs to the historic pool are set to begin.
The labor-intensive job will repair the damage to the concrete apron used to stabilize the diving board along the east headwall. TPWD reports that months of thorough evaluation, including extensive geotechnical examination, found that the structural failure was due to years of undermining erosion behind the wall caused by the flow of water from the springs.
“Apache is proud to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to support one of Texas’s most treasured destinations. This public-private partnership will ensure this unique natural treasure remains an iconic part of our community for many years to come,” said Apache Chief Executive Officer and President John J. Christmann IV.
Raising private funds for this project will allow available state funding to be used for other critical repair needs across the state park system. State park facilities throughout the state have been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and devastating floods in recent years. “We are incredibly thankful to Apache for their spirit of generosity in stepping forward with this major challenge grant to help repair Balmorhea State Park and its much beloved spring-fed swimming hole,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith. “This west Texas oasis is one of Texas’ great treasures, and its closure this summer was a source of deep disappointment to the Department and thousands of families who otherwise would have enjoyed basking in its magical, refreshing waters. With this challenge grant and the generosity of other Texans, we can now embark upon the essential repairs to the pool without having to divert resources away from other critical repair and maintenance projects across the State Park system.”
The Civilian Conservation Corps structure was built in the mid-1930s and is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. More than 15 million gallons of water flow through the pool each day, gushing from the San Solomon Springs. The 1.3-acre pool is up to 25 feet deep, holds 3.5 million gallons of water and the water temperature stays at 72 to 76 degrees year-round.
“Generations of Texans have enjoyed the cool, clear waters at Balmorhea, and we’re deeply grateful for Apache’s challenge grant to help us meet the fundraising goal of $2 million,” said Anne Brown, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “We’ve heard from many individuals and companies that are interested in helping, and we hope everyone who has ever dipped a toe in this Texas treasure will consider making a donation to help.”
Online donations may be made, or a donation may be mailed to: Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, 2914 Swiss Ave., Dallas, Texas 75204.