TPW Magazine’s Year of State Parks

December 9th, 2016
Palo Duro Canyon Glow

Palo Duro Canyon Glow

This is Passport to Texas

Of Texas’ more than 90 State Parks, some stand out as iconic. And others not so much.

I think like Ray Roberts might not be one of those iconic parks like Enchanted Rock or Garner State Park—even though it’s huge and a lot of people use it.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine Editor, Louie Bond says, Lake Ray Roberts State Park still made it into the publication’s yearlong celebration of state parks. While iconic sites got top billing, Bond says most parks got some love.

We tried to include everyone; we almost got them all. But, we included them in groups, like parks with great swimming holes, parks where you might want to take a hike, parks where you could ride a bike. And then grouped some parks by interest, like parks where you could take a photo of a great view—and just let people have a broader scope of what’s available in a state park system.

To close out 2016: one of the most iconic parks of all.

It’s Palo Duro. And, interestingly enough, as we went to press, the Washington Post ran an article on Palo Duro, and they said: you know, that canyon in Arizona may be larger, but Palo Duro ranks right up there with it.

You can read all the articles on state parks from this year online or when you download the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine APP from iTunes or the Apple Store.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – A Year of State Parks

December 8th, 2016
Sunset at Big Bend Ranch State Park

Sunset at Big Bend Ranch State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine spent the past year taking us to some of the most iconic parks in the system. Editor, Louie Bond shares her inspiration for the year of state parks.

I think it started when I had the rare pleasure of meeting Jonathon Jarvis, who is the director of the national Park System. And it was right before they kicked off their big 100th anniversary of national parks. And he talked to me about some of the programs they were doing. And I thought, well, you know, that’s just fantastic. And gosh, I love our state parks so much, too, that we should feature them as well. So that was really the inspiration for the year of state parks.

But the inspiration did not stop there.

My other inspiration came from the fact that during my ten years at Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine—I’m always under the impression that the really popular parks don’t really need a lot of coverage. They’re full and people are waiting in line. And maybe they don’t get quite as excited about having a feature story in the magazine. I thought—you know what? Just for one year, I’m going to totally indulge myself, and write about everyone’s favorite parks. And they may be a little more crowded than usual, and I’m sorry about that. But I’m really glad to feature them.

Tomorrow find out which park closes out the year.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

New State Park Ornaments

December 7th, 2016
New State Park Holiday Ornaments

New State Park Holiday Ornaments

This is Passport to Texas

For those who celebrate the Christmas holiday—or who simply treasure State Parks—a new trio of Texas State Park ornaments is available.

It’s our fifteenth year doing the ornament, actually. We’re really excited about it this year.

Aaron Friar promotes Texas State Parks. When the tradition began, parks rolled out a single limited edition ornament annually that was made from gold flashed brass, and featured three parks. Now it releases three limited edition ornaments annually made from laser cut wood, and each features a single park.

So, this is our fifth year doing that. And we’ve selected three parks. We’re doing Dinosaur Valley, Balmorhea, and then we’re doing Tyler State Park.

Find details about the annual Texas State park ornaments at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

If you go to texasstateparks.org/holidays, you can find out all the information about the new ornaments. An individual ornament is going to be $8.95, but you can get all three for $19.95 as a package. And then, if you want to start adding to your collection of ornaments, there are ways to purchase past ornaments.

Find details and see what’s available at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Upland Game Bird Forecast

December 6th, 2016
Bobwhite quail

Bobwhite quail

This is Passport

Substantial rainfall and mild summer temperatures across the state bode well for quail hunters.

Typically when you’re thinking about quail hunting in Texas, you’re thinking about south Texas and also the rolling plains up in north Texas and the Panhandle and things are certain looking great in both of those areas.

Robert Perez is Upland Game Program Leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Scale quail, in West Texas, are doing exceptionally well.

It’s why people come to Texas [to hunt]. And in the desert when it rains, everything turns green and blooms and the timing has been very good so our numbers are pretty staggering as far as what we’ve been seeing with scaled quail in west Texas. And we expect to see some great opportunities.

Quail isn’t the only upland game bird doing well this season. Perez says turkey hunting is on the rise.

Wild turkey hunting is a growing sport. The excitement of calling in a bird and it coming in—a big old Tom. They really rely on spring moisture to be successful at nesting. And, so we’re going to see a variety of ages, which is great for hunters because they’ll be looking for that mature bird but they’ll also be some three and four year old birds in there. If you had to put a number on it or qualify the season for turkey for Rio Grande Turkey it’s looking excellent.

Hunting in Texas is big business bringing more than three-billion dollars to the state’s economy.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

2016 Holiday Events in Texas State Parks

December 5th, 2016

holidays_600x300

This is Passport to Texas

Texas state parks pull out all the stops during the holidays.

All of our parks are doing some kind of event, or having some kind of special event for the holidays.

Aaron Friar promotes parks for Texas Parks and Wildlife. During this season, overnight campers are encouraged to decorate their camp sites.

Which is a lot of fun. A lot of them [State parks] are waiving campsite fees for the folks that will decorate their campsites. It’s just a lot of fun, because everybody can get involved. It’s like a trail of lights.

Nearby communities visit parks during December to enjoy the “light-hearted” creativity of overnight campers.

They’ll do hayrides [at some parks] and all sorts of special things with that—so it’s fun.

Imagine a hayride through your favorite park on a chilly winter evening while enjoying a festive light display along the way…and then ending the evening’s enjoyment with a craft activity or sweet treat.

We have a lot of cool arts and crafts activities that parks are putting on. And cookies and hot chocolate and wassail… I think we’re going to keep Santa pretty busy this year. He’s going to be making a lot of visits to a lot of our parks.

Find a list of events at texasstateparks.org/holidays; you may just discover a new family tradition for the holidays.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.