Packery Channel is a man-made pass that separates Padre Island from Mustang Island. These islands were once separated by the natural and much larger Corpus Christi Pass. Packery Channel was one of several channels through the pass and it was named for a meatpacking plant that was built on its shores in the 1870s. When the Corpus Christi Ship Channel was dredged in the 1920s, it reduced the flow of water through Corpus Christi Pass and it began to silt up and was completely closed by the 1940s.
In the following years, there were many efforts to reopen the pass. In 2001, Corpus Christi voters passed a referendum to have the channel reopened and in 2005 the work was complete. The jetties at the mouth of the pass are some of the most user-friendly on the Texas coast, with a smooth flat top and handrails. A parking sticker is required to park on the beach at the jetties.
Most people believe that Packery Channel has improved fishing in the Upper Laguna Madre and the open waterway now provides easy access to the Gulf of Mexico for pleasure boats. However, the pass and it's expensive maintenance, remain a point of contention among many locals.