Big Bend Chat

Other Parks of the Big Bend Region => Other Area Parks => Topic started by: elhombre on June 24, 2019, 10:12:55 AM

Title: Balmorhea Pool Update
Post by: elhombre on June 24, 2019, 10:12:55 AM
Had the pleasure of hitting the pool last week for a few days of swimming and relaxing, and I thought I would relay some changes that I saw.  First, I noticed the pool area was much cleaner than I remembered from before the renovation.  My guess it is a positive combination between the staff being able to focus more on the pool area because the rest of the park is closed, and the new limits on daily attendance.  We were told the new attendance policy is 700 people in the morning, and only 200 more admitted later in the day no matter how many people cycle through.  So, no more than 900 people will hit the pool in one full day.  That should sure help keep the sewer smell from developing in the afternoon.  They have also set a reservation system for getting into the pool.  Don't know how it works because we didn't use it, but they did ask if we had a reservation when paying the entrance fee.

Bathrooms close at 7:00, pool closes at 7:30.  Not sunset.

I think the little girl and I counted 5 small turtles we have never seen before.  We can remember seeing one or two over the previous years, but never as many as this time.  Most are no bigger than my hand, not including their out-stretched necks.  Also for the first time, we saw sunfish.  We think we counted at least 3 different ones.  They were all grown, no babies.  Not knowing if they are an invasive species, I have already written an e-mail to the park asking about them.  Anyone know?

High diving board is a little different.  Seems to be angled more than before, but still a blast to jump off of.  The ladders out of the pool at the high dive have also been modified.  It's made it harder to get out now.

Water level has been lowered slightly so that the top step at each stairway into the pool is not covered in water.  Means the step "should" not get as slick, and exit out of the pool is safer.  But also it is now almost impossible for someone to heave themselves out of the pool at the side.  Kind of sad about this, because it was a form of entertainment watching people ignore the "Slippery Steps" sign and bust their ass while climbing in and out of the pool without using the handrails.

Campground/ cottages will not be done anytime soon.  From what I saw, maybe another year.  Because the economy is so good in the area with energy production, they can't hire anyone to work on remodeling at the wages they offer.  I think construction was suppose to be done this past March.  Also was told they will NOT be planting any trees in the "wasteland" tent area.  Apparently it's too hard to set up the irrigation system for it.   :icon_rolleyes: 

Lastly, showers are closed until the new septic system is built, so count the swim as your bath.

Also forgot to mention, they now sell snorkeling equipment at the park office.  Looks like the park put that guy selling /renting equipment across the street out of business.  Or maybe he is making a bunch more money in the fracking business.

Title: Re: Balmorhea Pool Update
Post by: Casa Grande on June 24, 2019, 11:41:45 AM
Thanks for the update

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Title: Re: Balmorhea Pool Update
Post by: Robert on June 25, 2019, 08:58:54 AM
They have also set a reservation system for getting into the pool.  Don't know how it works because we didn't use it, but they did ask if we had a reservation when paying the entrance fee.

The State Parks now have a new reservation option called "Save the Day" that allows you to reserve an entrance permit (up to 30 days) in advance. Great for those parks with capacity limits.

New mobile-friendly online features (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/reservations/)
Title: Re: Balmorhea Pool Update
Post by: backpacker56 on June 25, 2019, 04:13:52 PM
I stopped by there on Sunday June 2 on my way back from the Guadalupes.  I didn't have time to swim, but I just wanted to take a look and maybe get a brochure or something.  I was curious about the scientific explanation for the presence of San Solomon Spring.  I asked the rangers at the office, and they shrugged.  One of them said it was because of the mountains.  I said there are lots of mountains in west Texas, but only one San Solomon Spring.