Goose Island State Park in Rockport Reopens Four Months After Harvey

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Tony Maples Photography


Four months after Harvey struck the coast of Texas, Goose Island State Park reopened part of the site to day-use visitors. On January 1, a portion of the island was again made available for park goers to recreate and enjoy in the new year. The park was hard-hit by the hurricane in late August. The hurricane damaged the park’s roads along the bay. Buildings were still standing but had roof and flood damage. The fishing pier suffered damage as well.

Open Daily from 8 a.m. Until 10 p.m.

Goose Island fishing

Photo: Facebook/Goose Island State Park – Texas Parks and Wildlife Via Mary Alvarez

“Park staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly with contractors to clean up and repair the park so we can welcome visitors back to the island,” said Robbie Merritt, superintendent of Goose Island State Park. Going forward, gates will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. daily. Visitors will have access to the boat ramp, day-use picnic area and the west end of the island to fish, picnic, and birdwatch.

The east end of the island, the fishing pier, and the wooded camping areas will remain closed until repairs are completed. All overnight camping at the park also remains closed until further notice. For reopening statuses of all parks impacted by Harvey, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

The Fate of the Big Tree

Goose Island Big Tree

Photo: Facebook/Goose Island State Park – Texas Parks and Wildlife

Thankfully, the Big Tree located at the park survived Hurricane Harvey, though younger trees around it were damaged. The Big Tree, which has been standing sentinel on the coast for more than 1,000 years, was named the State Champion Coastal Live Oak in 1969 but was dethroned in 2003 by the San Bernard Oak on the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. The Big Tree is still one of the largest live oak trees in Texas and in the nation.

Goose Island State Park is located in Rockport, which is the coastal town about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi (population 10,000) which caught the brunt of Harvey’s vicious core. The eye passed directly overhead, meaning it was subjected to the storm’s eyewall – the zone of strongest winds – twice, as the storm approached and departed.