Have you visited a Texas State Park lately? Maybe Big Bend in West Texas or some campsites outside of San Antonio? Whether you were visiting a historic site or a natural area, chances are you went past a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sign. Whether you're on hiking trails in Dallas, enjoying the beauty of Hill Country in the central part of the state or the Rio Grande in the south, or the miles of trails in the panhandle, all the Texas Parks & Wildlife sign Texans see are made by the same guy. That's right, one guy.
Willie Steinhauser is the only sign maker employed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The Park Ranger works out of Bastrop State Park and says he's made somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 signs for pretty much every state park, From the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to McKinney Falls State Park and Padre Island National Seashore.
Steinhasuer wasn't originally a signmaker by trade. According to San Antonio Express-News, Steinhauser worked as a park ranger for a long time. While he said he would repair signs in parks from time to time, he didn't have any experience making signs before he got the job. But his superiors say he's a natural.
The work is incredibly fulfilling according to Steinhauser, who says that the idea of people visiting parks all across Texas and seeing his work is something he finds special.
Typically, Steinhauser has to repair signs that have been lost to wear and tear or natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. He told San Antonio Express-News that the sign he wants to make the most is a sign that says Morgue (not for an actual morgue) for a particularly unique state park in the state. Currently, the wildest signs he says he's made are signs that say "Nowhere" and "The Other Side of Nowhere" for Big Bend State Park.
Texas' most prolific public sign maker loves his work and can't wait to make more signs for campers and park visitors across the state.