Balmorhea officials eager for public return

Balmorhea State Park Superintendent Carolyn Rose says she and her staff are excited about members of the public returning to the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

On Monday afternoon, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a press release that the spring-fed swimming pool and day use area at Balmorhea State Park will reopen on June 26.

Rose said since that press release was issued the phones have been ringing off the hook.

“We’ve kind of gone through this before, because there have been some closures of the pool in the past,” Rose said. “As soon as people find out that the pool is opening back up, we get that flood of calls all the time.

“People love this park. They are very upset when the park is closed.”

Balmorhea State Park has been closed since Sept. 3, 2019, for maintenance and construction projects.

Rose said it has been disappointing for her and her staff not to be open to the public for nearly two years. The visual additions to the park are a stone and metal fence wrapped around the park and pergolas near the diving board and basketball court. The park has also installed a new septic system.

“We want to do state park stuff and we haven’t been doing that,” Rose said. “We have been doing a lot of maintenance. Even our office staff has been coming outside and working in the pool area. We are ready to become a state park again and open again.”

Though the Balmorhea State Park staff is ready for the flood of expected patrons, Rose is urging the public to purchase passes in advance online before driving to Balmorhea State Park. Day passes can be purchased up to 30 days in advance.

Rose explained there would be a flexible capacity on how many members of the public could be at Balmorhea State Park at one time. An exact number wasn’t disclosed to the Odessa American, but Rose said that patrons can be turned away at the gate that hasn’t purchased passes in advance.

“I strongly want to encourage people to buy their day pass in advance before they come,” Rose said. “We are going to fill up. We hate to see people drive from El Paso, Odessa or Midland without a daily pass and then they can’t get in.”

The pool and day use areas will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first. There will be continued light construction ongoing in the pool area, which includes installing fence paneling, renovations to shaded area and temporary orange plastic fencing around recently planted grass near the newly constructed gated wall.

Rose said the San Solomon Courts, campground, and cienegas remain closed to the visiting public. There is metal chain link fencing around those construction areas. Rose said she doesn’t expect those areas to be ready this year.

“I know they have a long way to go,” Rose said. “You can tell just by walking through there. When they are going to finish, I have no idea.

“I can tell you one thing for sure. They aren’t going to be ready this summer.”