Blanco State Park holds a special place in the hearts of Blanco residents, as well as those who return year after year to camp beside the beautiful Blanco River. In a recent interview via e-mail, it was heartening to hear the optimism of recently-hired Park Superintendent Ethan Belicek, who was greatly influenced by the public support of the park when he made the decision to relocate here from South Texas with his family.
A native of Weimar, Texas, Belicek grew up on a small farm in Hallettsville, where he learned a love of the out-of-doors at an early age. After high school, he earned a college degree through the University of Houston at Victoria while serving in the Army. After he received an honorable discharge, he began working a series of jobs, including a landscaping job in Bastrop. He explained that the 9-11 tragedy led to his losing his job because homeowners did not want to put money into their yards. He made a decision at that point to become a part of Texas Parks and Wildlife, a goal he attained, he said, with the help of “truly inspiring and able people that I now consider my friends and mentors.”
For the past ten years, Belicek has worked at various parks, from San Jacinto State Historical Site, where he worked as a Ranger II, then as Assistant Manager at Goose Island State Park, and most recently as Park Superintendent at Corpus Christi State Park.
The decision to leave South Texas was a difficult one for his family, he said, but the Hill Country is closer to family and provides opportunities for the whole family, which includes his wife and daughter. Not coincidentally, his love of hunting made the Hill Country a perfect choice.
About Blanco he said, “The town and surrounding area are beautiful. My family and I have felt welcome from the moment we arrived. Both the park staff and the community members that I have had the privilege of meeting have made us feel at home.” He did admit, however, that he is having a little trouble adjusting to the cooler temperatures in the Hill Country.
As to the future of the park, Belicek said, “This park is unique among Texas parks in that it generates almost enough revenue to cover its operating costs. I encourage everyone who utilizes the park to support it by purchasing a Texas State Park Pass. This will help to bridge the operating gap and will continue to demonstrate local support of your park. For those that already have one of these TSPPS, thank you and don’t forget to show it at the Park Headquarters every time you visit.” He plans to wait a year to see if any changes need to be made in the park. “Every park has its own unique challenges and opportunities, and it is too early to make any large decisions. Blanco State Park has some outstanding features and some unique situations.” He has already attended two meetings of the Friends of the Blanco State Park and serves as liaison between the park and the Friends.
For more information, you can call the park at 830-833-4333 or e-mail the superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org.