Joe Nick Patoski

Joe Nick Patoski’s latest book is The Ballad of Robert Ealey and His Five Careless Lovers: An Oral History (Horne & Wellesley Publishers) about his favorite blues band from his hometown of Fort Worth.
san solomon springs

‘All it Took was 25 Years’: Legislature Ponies Up Cash for Underfunded Texas Parks

After two decades of looting state park funding, lawmakers appropriated nearly $350 million this session, greenlit development of a new state park and gave voters a chance to maintain a long-term source.

Texas state parks have been a convenient piggy bank for the Legislature whenever money was short elsewhere, but this session they got their due. Lawmakers put more funding than ever into state parks, and additionally are giving voters a chance … Read More

parks, enchanted rock

Is Texas’ Overcrowded, Underfunded State Parks System Being Loved to Death?

Texans love their state parks. But our state's public lands are overcrowded and rapidly deteriorating. Maybe it's time to take the long view.

by Joe Nick Patoski December 17, 2018  In July, on a 100-degree day in the desert, 562 miles west of Houston, I stood on the concrete bank of the San Solomon Springs Pool at Balmorhea State Park in Far … Read More


Full Stream Ahead

With an environmental lawyer newly installed at the helm, the Lower Colorado River Authority charts a course between growth and good sense.

Joe Beal Jr. sat in the boardroom of the Lower Colorado River Authority headquarters in Austin talking about how impressed he was with China. A year earlier, as LCRA general manager, he had traveled to see the recently completed Three … Read More


Park and Parcel

The underfunded Texas Parks and Wildlife Department struggles to sell itself

Last summer, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department commissioners contemplated selling off 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, to John Poindexter, the Houston businessman who owns the nearby Cibolo Creek Ranch luxury resort. … Read More


The Boys with the Bands

For the past 19 winters, Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro, and Louis Black have spent their Friday afternoons plotting and planning South By Southwest, a cool idea they came up with based on getting a bunch of bands and music people … Read More


Far Out Far West Texas

Mythic Texas gives way to Montana chic

When the bumpy dirt road to this Far West Texas ghost town was coated with asphalt four years ago, Terlingua became convenient. Its days as a sleepy, unpretentious, off-the-beaten-path reinvented mining town were over. All along Farm to Market Road … Read More


Seadrift Nation

“Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight For Seadrift, Texas While working on an oral history project called “The Voices of Civil Rights,” I spent a year traveling around the country, collecting dozens of personal … Read More


The Only Honest Lake in Texas

It looks like a winner has emerged in the struggle for Caddo Lake

A table full of good ol’ boys and good ol’ girls are having a hoot over lunch at Dawn’s, under the bridge where State Highway 43 crosses the western edge of Caddo Lake. One in the crowd claims he’s been … Read More