Park Pick: Dedicated Ranger
Lake Livingston State Park has been shaped by loving hands.
By Walt Bailey
The lights of the campsites along the lakeshore still beckon, as they have since the beginning. After more than three decades as a ranger at Lake Livingston State Park, Floyd Randolph still anticipates the show they put on at sunset.
He almost joined the Navy, but a call from a manager at the then-new state park nearby set him on a different course. He came to help complete a project and left after two days, thinking the work was done.
“Perhaps it was a test,” he suggests. “Maybe they wanted to see what kind of worker I would be before offering a job.”
Soon after, he was asked to return, and he spent the next 36 years working for TPWD at Lake Livingston State Park. Over his career, Randolph has done everything from emptying trash cans and building barbecue pits to teaching kids how to fish.
He also helped build much of the park’s trail system, including the popular Pineywoods boardwalk. After a trip along these trails, many visitors return to their campsites to make dinner, sometimes frying up the fish they caught in the lake.
Randolph retires this year, but he leaves behind a legacy of outdoor adventure for visitors to enjoy.
The park offers a variety of activities to suit many interests. Park anglers catch catfish, crappie, bluegill and white bass from the lighted fishing pier or by boat. Hikers and bikers enjoy the tranquility by taking quiet excursions on trails winding through the dense woods. Wildlife lovers use binoculars to take advantage of many wildlife viewing opportunities along the way.
Park facilities include campgrounds for tents and RVs, an event hall, a lookout tower, a swimming pool, a park store and stables that offer guided trail rides along the park’s equestrian trail. Travelers on the park’s seven miles of trails encounter swamp rabbits, white-tailed deer, fox squirrels and sometimes even a bald eagle.
Along the Pineywoods boardwalk, a new wildlife blind provides a great place to observe the many species of birds found in the park. The park also offers live interpretive and educational programs on weekends.
Lake Livingston State Park is southwest of Livingston. From town, go south on U.S. Highway 59. Turn right onto FM 1988 and go four miles, then go a half-mile on FM 3126 to Park Road 65. The park is about 75 miles north of Houston.
Visit www.texasstateparks.org or call (936) 365-2201 for information.
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