Description - Fairfield Lake State Park is 1460 acres northeast of the City of Fairfield in Freestone County. The park was acquired in 1971 - 1972 by lease from Texas Utilities and was opened to the public in 1976.
Copyright: - Texas State Parks & Historical Sites
Bald Eagle Tour
The history of the area around Fairfield Lake State Park resembles that of much of rural eastern Texas. Long occupied by Native Americans who exploited its waterways, the land was first broken in the mid-nineteenth century and planted in cotton and corn by Anglo farmers and, about a third of the time, their African-American slaves. Following the Civil War, the crop-lien system took root. Blacks and whites alike worked in the service of the cotton crop until after World War II, when changes in American agriculture and increased employment opportunities away from the farm brought an end to the era of widespread cotton farming. Since that time, cattle ranching has prevailed throughout the region. The human population of the Brown Creek area, never large, is now widely scattered over the region. In this sparsely populated area, Texas Utilities built its dam, creating Fairfield Lake as a cooling system for its new power plant.
- This multi-use State Park should has such a diverse variety of attractions that most visitors tastes should be satisfied. Fairfield offers visitors access to the 2,400 acre lake thus providing water based recreation. Additionally there are 16 miles of hiking trails. There are 2 nature trails which allow nature studying; one trail is 2 miles long while the other is one mile long and focusses on bird watching. Camping is allowed with many sites close to the the lake.
The State Park additionally has a variety of tours and presentations, these are listed below:
FAIRFIELD BALD EAGLE TOURS: As the winter migrating bald eagles find their way south, Texans will again have the opportunity to view this majestic bird at Fairfield Lake on this Texas Conservation Passport activity. Participants will board a two-level, 40-foot tour boat and cruise the winter feeding waters of our national symbol. Conducted each Saturday from November 2 through the end of February, this activity has grown in popularity since its inception in 1992. This is an ideal opportunity for anyone who has never seen an eagle in the wild to do so in the beautiful setting of the Post Oak Belt of Texas. Each tour provides an overview of the bald eagle's characteristics, habits, population levels, and unique status in relation to our dwindling natural resources as it illustrates the efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to monitor the health of this species. Contact the park for tour fee information and reservations; Texas Conservation Passport holders receive a discount.
BIRD HOUSE DAY: For the 6th year, Bird House Day (in February) encourages visitors to participate in hands-on habitat improvement to benefit our feathered friends. Activities will begin in the morning and include monitoring bird houses in use, repairing damaged or deteriorated houses, constructing and setting up new houses, and tours of the park bird watching trail to view how specific habitat suits specific species of birds. Birdhouse Day "T" shirts will be on sale, along with wooden bird houses and related materials.
The park staff has developed a wide variety of interpretive programs that may be reserved to accommodate your group's schedule. They are a part of the agency-wide initiative to conduct operations in a more businesslike manner known as the Entrepreneurial Budget System or EBS. The ultimate goal of EBS is to provide excellence in recreational, educational, and interpretive opportunities at a minimal cost to participants by developing alternate revenue sources to reduce this agency's dependence on general tax funds. Donations are requested with minimum guidelines; contact the park for specifics. Proceeds from these programs will be used to offset park operational expenses and enhance existing facilities.
WINGS ON THE WINDS OF SPRING: A bird watcher's must-do. Visitors will take a guided tour of the park bird watching trail to explore a variety of habitat and the multitude of species found there. After the hike, participants will view a comprehensive slide presentation at the Springfield Area Amphitheater on the bird life found at Fairfield Lake area and hear what the calls of the various species sound like. An outreach version of this program is available to provide an "on the road" presentation of this activity.
HOG WILD!: Learn about the life history and habits of the common barnyard variety swine gone wild: the Feral Hog. This creature seems to be on the increase in the wilds of Texas and comes in conflict with many of our native species. This program will outline the history of how we've come to the present situation and possibly some solutions to the environmental damage this species has caused.
MOON SHINE OVER FREESTONE COUNTY: Once known during the prohibition period as a center for the illegal production of moonshine, Freestone County has a rich history of the running conflict between the "moonshiners" and the "revenuers." Learn about the exploits of these characters and how moonshine was actually made as well as the laws that regulate these activities.
FAT TIRE FANDANGO: An overview of mountain biking in general, with tips on mountain bike safety practices, some pointers on bike maintenance, and the low down on area opportunities, followed by a leisurely tour of the six mile primitive area trail. Bring your helmets and water bottles and plan on seeing this area from a whole different perspective.
BUDDING ROADSIDES, BLOOMING FIELDS: Ever wonder what are the names of those fantastic flashes of color that abound in the Spring pastures. Witness the profusion of wild flowers that abound in the Freestone County area and attend an interpretation of the more common species.
THE CALL OF THE WILD: A seminar to present techniques used to attract various species of wildlife to include: predators, songbirds, turkeys, deer and waterfowl in order to better understand animal communication and provide an improved opportunity to observe wildlife in its natural environment.
THE TALE OF TILIPIA: What do you know about Egyptian Mouth Breeders? Imported Cichilids? Well, come find out all about the interesting and tasty Tilipia at this interpretive program to inform visitors of the presence and characteristics of this African native that has made Fairfield Lake its home. Bow fishermen will enjoy learning what makes this species tick as well as a few tips on how to catch, clean and cook this exotic species.
REDFISH, AN INLAND ODDITY: Why drive all the way to the Gulf of Mexico to fish for Red Drum? Just 90 miles south of Dallas you can fish for redfish and not be concerned with the upper limit of the slot limit (keep fish over 30 inches long). Learn why, along with many other interesting facts about the inland stocking of this marine fish and a few tips on how the inland variety differs from its gulf kin in habits, growth, and catch ability.
THE NATURE OF FIRE: Learn about the natural influence of fire on our environment and how fire is being used as a tool to manage the natural resources in our state parks and wildlife areas as well as provide information on how fire has shaped habitat and can be safely be utilized to maintain the balance of nature. Private land owners may find the information discussed useful in providing better wildlife habitat on their properties.
SKIP-A-GENERATION FISHING CLINIC: Parents, Take a Hike/ or, just put your feet up for a while and let Grandma and Grandpa spend some time with the grandchildren. We'll have demonstrations of equipment, techniques, and best kept secrets for success for children of all sizes.
THE DEER OF FAIRFIELD LAKE: An informative look at the effect of white-tailed deer on the environment of a State Park, to include a discussion on the complexities of deer biology and a short walk to view the deer habitat and how the deer herd affects it. An outreach version of this program is available to provide an "on the road" presentation of this activity.
TALKIN' TURKEY: An overview of the current eastern turkey situation in East Texas will be discussed along with a slide presentation and a demonstration of turkey calling techniques by park manager Dennis Walsh.
THE WATER CYCLE: Ever wonder what happens to the used motor oil you let out on the ground? The excess detergent that goes down the drain? You can find out during this synopsis of the way water is provided for human use, treated, distributed, used, collected, treated again, and returned to the environment for reuse. This program will provide some insight on the impact of our water usage on our environment and eventually our own future.
THE BACKBONE OF NIGHT: Far from the city lights, the cosmic display of the Milky Way becomes apparent. Weather permitting, park staff members will join with area amateur astronomers to locate and identify prominent features of the cosmos.
WHEN THE FISH DON'T BITE . . . BOW FISH!: Learn the FUNdamentals of bow fishing along with a comprehensive look at the species that may be taken with a bow and arrow and the latest in equipment and methods.
THE RACCOONS OF FAIRFIELD LAKE (and things that go bump in the night): A detailed investigation of the habits and life history of the common (sometimes too common) rascally raccoon. Also covered will be some of the lesser known and seen creatures of the twilight that inhabit the Fairfield Lake area.
AMPHIBIOUS AVIANS; OUR TEXAS WATERFOWL: Harbingers of Spring and Fall, our waterfowl are some of the most interesting of birds and the subject of one of America's oldest folk art: decoy making. Come learn about the species that visit the Fairfield Lake Area and the craft that spring from duck hunting and decoying.
POISONOUS SNAKES OF TEXAS: Want to find out the different between a snake that can hurt you as opposed to one that will only make you hurt yourself? This program will identify the characteristics of the poisonous snakes found in Texas and where and in what habitat they are likely to be found, as well as some useful information on how to avoid getting bitten. Schedule this activity for a safety program for people who work outdoors.
With regards to facilities available for visitors, there are campsites with water (most on the lakefront); campsites with water and electricity; a hike-in primitive camping area (at the end of a 6-mile, round-trip hiking trail); picnicking; an overflow camping area; restrooms with and without showers; a lighted fishing pier; a fish-cleaning shelter; a fish-cleaning table; boat ramps; a trailer dump station; playgrounds; a group dining hall for day-use only; and an amphitheater.
Surrounding woods are oak, hickory, cedar, elm, dogwood, and redbud, which offer sanctuary for many species of birds, and mark the transition zone between the pine forests to the east and the prairie grasslands to the north and west. Wildlife found in the park include osprey (year-round), bald eagles (November through February), white-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, beavers, squirrels, and armadillos. Popular catches include catfish, bass, carp, freshwater redfish, and other varieties
Nearby points of interest include Rusk/Palestine and Fort Parker State Parks; Texas State Railroad, Old Fort Parker (operated by the City of Groesbeck), and Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historical Parks; the Cities of Rusk, Palestine, and Fairfield (where the Freestone County Museum in the century-old jail is located).
Camping and entrance fees vary. For reservations, call 512/389-8900. Current conditions including fire bans and water levels can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities offered by the Fairfield Lake State Park include boating, fishing, canoeing, swimming, jet skiing, waterskiing, camping, picnicking, hiking, bird watching, nature studies, tours and interpretive programs.
Climate - Fairfield Lake State Park is located at an elevation of 461feet. Temperatures within the park range from a July average high of 95 degrees to a January average low of 35 degrees. April and May are the park's wettest months. The first/last freeze is November 29/March 11. Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
Fairfield Lake State Park is situated within the Pineywoods area of Texas. The park is 6 miles northeast of Fairfield off FM 2570 on FM 3285 adjacent to Fairfield Lake.