Jump on in, the water's fine. Balmorhea State Park's San Solomon Springs pool reopened this week after months of restoration — thanks to an assist from generous Texans.
A go-to camping and swimming spot in West Texas, the world's largest spring-fed pool closed in May 2018 after damage was discovered under the historic diving board during an annual cleaning. State officials raised more than $1 million to fund repairs to the iconic camping spot, which included preserving the diving board and brick surrounding the edge of the pool, creating cofferdams, and removing and replacing "existing distressed wall and backfill."
San Solomon Springs pool spans 1.3 acres, holds more than 3.5 million gallons of water, goes up to 25 feet deep, and stays between 72 and 76 degrees throughout the year.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation teamed up with Houston-based oil and gas explorer Apache Corporation to raise money for pool repairs. Apache also contributed an additional $1 million for an endowment to continue supporting the state park.
"The fundraising effort was jump-started with a $1 million challenge grant announced by TPWF and Apache in August 2018. Apache pledged to match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million. Donations poured in, and by January 17, more than $1 million had been raised," Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials explained in a release.
"More than 575 donations were received from all corners of the state, with 60 percent of the donations under $100," the release continued. Among the many Texas companies that made significant contributions was Hye's Garrison Brothers Distillery and San Antonio's Pioneer Energy Services.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division, Texas Historical Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Reeves County Water District also assisted with the restoration.
Parks and Wildlife is also working on two other major developments, including renovations to the San Solomon Springs Courts and campgrounds. While that work continues, overnight facilities at the park will not be available until later this summer, the department said in a release.