Archive for the 'Nature Tourism' Category

The Kraken Serves Texas as an Artificial Reef

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

This is Passport to Texas

On Jan. 20th, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, more than 60 miles off the coast of Galveston. Alison Baldwin is an Artificial Reef technician.

Because Texas [gulf floor] doesn’t have a lot of structure, it makes it hard to for fishermen to fish because fish really enjoy structure. So any time we put structure out here, it’s really good for fishermen and divers.

Program Leader, Dale Shively, says the Kraken, which began life in 1987 as a Japanese cargo ship, was cleaned of fuel, oil and hazardous materials before being deployed into gulf waters.

We’re at our reef site, about 65 miles out of Galveston. We’re trying to maneuver into a deep water spot that’s at least 140 feet deep.

To facilitate a controlled flood to sink the ship, Baldwin says work crews cut four large holes into the its hull.

Water will rush into the stern, and we’re hoping that the stern touches the bottom first, and all that super structure will fill with water, and it will bring the bow down nice and slow.

Everything progressed flawlessly, because of the planning and preparation that went into it beforehand.

As soon as we sink the ship, there should be fish on it in minutes—which is really exciting.

Since 1990, the artificial reef program has documented more than 200 marine fish species that make these complex, stable and durable habitats home.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Spring Break: Wildlife Trail Maps & Migration

Friday, March 4th, 2016
Wildlife Trails Maps from Texas Parks and Wildlife, available for purchase or free digital download.

Wildlife Trails Maps from Texas Parks and Wildlife, available for purchase or free digital download.


This is Passport to Texas

Beginning in February and continuing through May, birders watch the sky for spring migrants.

Texas is unique in that it has a great funnel of flyways. Spring migration is a great time to go and experience all the different birds that come through Texas.

Liz Tomberlin works in Nature Tourism at Texas Parks and Wildlife. From casual birders to listers, these maps have something for everyone! There are well-known sites such as High Island as well as lesser-known local gems and private ranches. To find the road less traveled—grab a Wildlife Trail map.

And what our Wildlife Trail maps do is give them more of an individual experience and give them places that might be hidden gems in the community where they can go and avoid the crowds and see all the birds in a different spot that’s not so well known.

Which of the nine illustrated maps would Liz suggest?

Definitely upper Texas coast, central Texas Coast, and Lower Texas Coast, are some of the best places to see the spring migrants. Will these maps also tell people what birds to look out for? Yes, it does! Each site description tells you different times when you can see these birds, what you can expect to see at the site, and where to go to actually view them. It’s a great tool to have if you want to come and see the spring migration.

Download free digital versions of the maps from the Texas Parks and Wildlife website; hard copies may be purchased. Find information at the TPW website.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Wildlife Trail Maps

Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Wildlife Trail Maps

Wildlife Trail Maps


This is Passport to Texas

Texas is a big place with lots to do and to see for the wildlife lover; knowing where to start can be a little overwhelming. No worries. Texas Parks and Wildlife has a solution.

04-We have nine distinct maps; each covers a region of Texas.

They are the Great Texas Wildlife Trails Maps, and encompass more than 960 sites statewide. Liz Tomberlin works in nature tourism at Parks and Wildlife.

20-And [the maps] cover everything from migratory bird watching spots–to burrowing owls–to the prairie chicken leks in the panhandle plains. The monarch migration–we’ve had some great spots to see monarchs. All the way through to bat-watching, and all sorts of other mammals and birds and amphibians that you can see throughout Texas.

The agency updated the Heart of Texas West and East maps recently to ensure users have access to the most current information–information that goes beyond
where to find native critters.

17-Our maps include information for general tourists. There’s information for convention bureaus and visitors’ centers on there; each of our sites includes GPS coordinates; driving directions from major highways; a short description of the site and what you can expect to see there, and a phone number so you can contact someone.

Find more information about The Great Wildlife Trails Maps, including free, interactive versions of the maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Nature Tourism in Texas

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Children excited about what they see in nature.

Children excited about what they see in nature.


This is Passport to Texas

Nature tourism, which for most of us includes wildlife viewing, gives the Texas economy a nice little bump.

13-Right now, we have 4.4 million people who participate in wildlife watching. And that translates to about 13.8 billion dollars going towards the Texas Economy.

Liz Tomberlin works in nature tourism at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

08- [Nature tourism] is a non-consumptive form of exploring the great outdoors. You are not really taking anything; you are participating in it, which is great.

The Texas outdoors is a big place; there’s a lot to do and to see and that can be overwhelming for some, keeping them close to home. What if there was a simple
and familiar item–or nine of them–available to everyone that could help guide users to outdoor discovery. Think that might help make the great Texas outdoors more manageable? There’s a way to find out.

17-We have nine different maps for great Texas Wildlife trails covering all of Texas, in different regions. And they allow people to find sites that have been vetted by Texas Parks and Wildlife that will help them view wildlife within Texas, and get a great experience of the Texas outdoors.

Liz Tomberlin returns with details about the maps tomorrow. Meanwhile, find interactive versions of the maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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