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County
Calhoun
Region
Gulf Coast
Nearby
Parks
Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area
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Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area Information:
The 56,688 acre barrier island is one of the five barrier islands located on the Texas Gulf Coast (Gulf of Mexico), and is the only one entirely owned by the public. The island is magnificent in its near pristine, windswept environment, and it’s almost total isolation. It is located 55 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, is from 1 to 4 miles wide, and is 38 miles long. The north end is separated from Matagorda Peninsula by Paso Cavallo, and the south end is separated from St. Joseph Island by Cedar Bayou. The west side (bayside) is located approximately 5 miles off the mainland, and across Espiritu Santo, San Antonio and Mesquite Bays. Until the ferry service ended with the burning of the ferry, the TPWD managed the north end of the island as the Matagorda Island State Park. The park is now a Wildlife Management Area. The south end of the island is a unit of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Complex owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for island wildlife and habitat management. The TPWD is responsible for public use management of the island and manages the whole island as a WMA. TPWD manages island activities including hunting. A Limited Public Use (LPU) Permit or an Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit is required for all persons, except for youth under age 17. Those under 17 must be accompanied by a permitted adult. The boat dock located at the former TPWD headquarters area is located approximately 11 water miles from Port O’Connor. (979) 323-9553. Island access is by private boat or charter boat from Port O’Connor.
 
Matagorda Island Lighthouse, 1852:
The 1852 lighthouse is located on the north end of the island. It was built to serve as a beacon for ships passing through Pass Cavallo to the Port of Indianola on Matagorda Bay, which at that time was the 2nd busiest port in Texas. The iron sections for the 55 foot lighthouse were cast by the Baltimore firm of Murray and Hazlehurst. A wooden light keeper’s cottage was built nearby for the first light keeper, James Cumming. The reflecting lamps in the tower’s lantern room were first lit on December 21, 1852.
 
Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area Directions:
Island access is by private or charter boats only. The boat dock and hunter check station are located at the former TPWD headquarters area is located approximately 11 water miles from Port O’Connor.