Leasing Land for Angler Access

August 24th, 2016
Here's what river access can get you.

Here’s what river access can get you.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access to some of the state’s 191-thousand miles of rivers through a lease program.

We’re trying to bring in private landowners to help be a solution to open up angler access to rivers.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Landowners who participate in the program receive monthly lease payments and even funds for site improvements.

Such as trails, or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we support habitat improvements…addressing, sometimes, erosion issues, or maybe loss of vegetation along the stream bank that’s resulting in some kind of bank instability. So, there are a lot of things we can do at these sites to help benefit not just their general management of the site, but also provide for a better user experience.

Birdsong says users ought not to expect a family-friendly parklike setting.

This is more about showcasing a natural, functional, healthy river system. This is for folks that are experienced paddlers, and anglers that really know how to [navigate and] fish a river. Rivers are inherently dangerous and somewhat unforgiving. But we do want to provide an opportunity for people to experience what a natural, flowing river is.

Find more information about the program and river ecosystems on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Landowners Key to River Access for Angling

August 23rd, 2016
Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

As 95-percent of Texas land is privately owned, angler access to rivers is challenging.

Our laws are such that many of the larger rives in the state are publicly navigable, so anglers—the public—have a right to recreate in those river segments. But, accessing those rivers is very difficult, because you have to cross land; often that land is under private ownership.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Through leases with landowners, Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access along the 191-thousand miles of rivers in Texas.

The program is intended to be a win-win scenario for landowners and for anglers. If they have a property that’s a good fit, and really does expand bank, wade and kayak fishing in the state, and they’re interested in making some money off of that, then what they do is participate in this lease program. We provide some funds for a monthly lease payment. We also provide funding for site improvements such as trails or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we will support habitat improvements.

Angler access improvements in Texas are funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

Find additional information about angler river access and how to get involved in the program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Expanding River Access for Anglers

August 22nd, 2016
South Llano River

South Llano River

This is Passport to Texas

Looking for a serene, wilderness experience and a high-quality fishing opportunity? You can hardly do better than one of Texas’ scenic, wild and storied rivers—if you can access them, that is.

Land ownership issues in Texas make it challenging for anglers to be able to access rivers.

Ninety-five percent of land in our state is in private hands. Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife.

We have some access adjacent to right-of-ways of bridge crossings. Some cities, counties and state parks have river access. But, in general, there is very limited access to rivers around the state.

Public land with the best access may end up in Texas’ paddling trails program.

So, these are defined launch areas for paddling in general—for [angling], birding and other sorts of wildlife oriented recreation that can be done in these river segments. But, even with around 70 paddling trails in the state, that still only provides access to a small fraction of the 191-thousand miles of river that we have in Texas.

Tomorrow: a new a public-private partnership that’s creating more river access for anglers.

Meanwhile, find paddling trail information and maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

TPW TV – Yoga Hike

August 19th, 2016
Yoga Hike

Yoga Hike, Image via YogaHike.Net Photographer Olympia Sobande

This is Passport to Texas

Tai Chi enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who exercise in the outdoors. Christopher Howell leads yoga hikes at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin.

What yoga hike is, is just like it sounds. I mean, we hike and we do a little yoga. The trails are so nice. We do the 2.8 mile Onion Creek Trail. I love how the trails are carved out. They’re easy to follow. Any age level can hike.

Join Howell’s Yoga Hike during a segment on the TPW TV Show on PBS the week of August 21.

So, we do a little warm up to get started. I have people get fully present. Focus on why they’re here. What they want to do while they’re here. Get ‘em ready to do a hike.

Both the hike and the yoga are gentle. And Howell says, both allow participants to connect with the natural world.

I want people to feel more connected to nature. Not to feel as though they’re something separate from nature. They are nature. They’re an animal. And so, doing a hike, and doing a little bit of yoga, seems to narrow that gap. And as we become more aware of that, we treat each other better. We treat nature better.

Find out how Christopher Howell’s yoga students end their hike, when you watch the TPW TV show on PBS the week of August 21. You’ll want to join them.

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

Longer Dove Season in Texas

August 18th, 2016
Dove hunting in Texas

Dove hunting in Texas


This is Passport to Texas

The fall hunting season gets underway with the dove season opener, which is September 1 in the north and central zones, and September 23 in the south zone.

Thanks to season dates adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission recently, Texas dove hunters can look forward to the longest season in 80 years.

Although the traditional opening dates established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remain fixed, a new 90-day season this fall means hunters will have 20 more days of opportunity compared to previous years.

To take advantage of birds migrating into the state, the additional days are being integrated early in the season, as well as at the end of the season in the Special White-winged Dove Area. This will provide more wing-shooting opportunities.

During the general season, the aggregate bag limit is 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

During the early two weekends in the Special White-winged Dove Area, hunting is allowed only in the afternoon and the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves.

Check out the Outdoor Annual for seasons and bag limits on all game species in Texas.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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