• Contributed photo by Billy Patterson
    This aerial photo of the Fort Parker State Park boat ramp into the Navasota River shows the work in progress. The new ramp, which is free of charge except for the park entrance fee, is expected to be finished in January 2018 at the latest. It will be slightly longer, go deeper into the river; and have a concrete parking lot and a vault toilet nearby.

Ramp rebuilt to make boating the Navasota easier

By Roxanne Thompson, Staff Writer

Boaters around Limestone County who want to enjoy the Navasota River can look forward to a new boat ramp in the next couple of months. That’s because Fort Parker State Park’s boat ramp to the Navasota River – the only public boat ramp to the river in Limestone County – is being rebuilt.

Park Superintendent Mike Loftice said he wasn’t sure when the old one was built.

“It was here way before I came, which is 10 years now,” he said.

But the new boat ramp is scheduled to be finished by the end of January 2018 at the latest.

“It could be done before then,” Loftice said, “even before the new year, depending on whether they run into any snags or anything because they are actually a little bit ahead of schedule.”

The project, Loftice said, has been a long time coming.

“Our old boat ramp was in disrepair for some time,” he said.

After Texas Parks and Wildlife approved the project and the state Legislature appropriated funding for it, a year of planning followed before construction began in September.

The new ramp will be significantly better than the old one.

“The boat ramp was a little bit short,” Loftice explained, “and there was a bad ledge in the river that sometimes fishermen would hang their boats up on. The new boat ramp has a lip at the end so the fishermen should be able to tell when they’re at the end of the boat ramp or not. They’ve put the new ramp down lower in the water than the old one, so fishermen will not have difficulty getting into the river, as they did before.”

The new boat ramp is slightly longer than the old one but mostly extends farther down into the river, he said.

The project, however, includes other improvements to the area, too. The area has not had toilet facilities but will now have a vault toilet, a vast improvement in itself. A vault toilet, Loftice explained, is like a modern-day pit toilet but with significant innovations.

“It actually has what looks like a toilet you sit on but it doesn’t use water,” Loftice said. “The way it’s constructed, it doesn’t have the smell or the problem with flies like a traditional pit toilet would have.”

There will not be sinks for hand washing since there is no running water there, but the park will provide toilet paper.

Another improvement to the area is a new, concrete parking lot. The former parking lot, made of asphalt, was prone to being massively damaged after flooding events.

“When the river would flood, the water would lift up the asphalt, so it ended up having huge potholes,” he said. “They’re going to eliminate that by having a concrete parking lot.”

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

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Groesbeck, TX 76642
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