New Observation Tower at Sheldon Lake State Park

Thanks to numerous private donations, the Sheldon Lake State Park, located approximately 15 miles northeast of Houston, is now home to the 82-foot-tall John Jacob Tower.  The tower, named for native Houstonian, civic leader and executive at Anheuser-Busch, John Jacob,  features an access ramp, stairs and an elevator that ultimately provide unprecedented views of the park, reservoir and beyond.

“This tower is going to become the signature item for this park. People are going to come here to climb to the top and take in the view, said Sheldon Lake State Park superintendent Rob Comstock. “The dream and vision to have this tower was on paper, but without the private donations, it never would have become a reality.”

Fundraising efforts for the project began in 2003 by then TPWD Commissioner Al Henry, also a Houston native. Henry helped secure millions of dollars toward Sheldon’s future and thought the new tower would be a fitting tribute if named in honor of Jacob, his lifelong friend and professional colleague.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bryan Frazier

Activities: Primary activities at the Lake Unit are fishing, and wildlife observation. Sheldon Lake is open everyday to public fishing with appropriate licenses. Boats must not exceed headway speed while operating on the lake and may be launched at the south boat ramp on Pineland Road. Bank fishing is permitted year round from three T-piers along the west and south levees or the parking lot on Garrett Road.

Activities at the Environmental Learning Center include birding, wildlife/nature study and fishing for children. The Learning Center (open every day 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving & Christmas with extended hours till 7 p.m. on weekends April – October) includes a 1/2 mile self-guided nature trail that passes 28 naturalized ponds which contain alligators and other wildlife. (Binoculars are recommended for best viewing). Free catch-and-release “Family Fishing” is permitted on Saturdays and Sundays only, for children accompanied by adults, in the two fishing ponds. Alternative energy technologies and green building techniques (photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind turbine, & ground coupled geothermal) are demonstrated at the Learning Center. A Wildscape demonstration garden shows techniques to use native plants and wildflowers that attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your backyard. A composting demonstration area shows easy means of “recycling” household leaves and grass.

If you are looking for some inexpensive summer fun, check out this hidden Houston treasure!