Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Learn to Camp–No Experience Required

Monday, February 12th, 2018
Texas Outdoor Family Workshop

Texas Outdoor Family Workshop

This is Passport to Texas

Have your kids been begging you to take them on an overnight camping trip at a Texas State Park? Have they talked excitedly about sleeping in a tent and making s’mores over a campfire, or maybe even catching a fish? If you’ve been putting them off because you’re out of practice, or never learned the skills in the first place—we can help.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers the Texas Outdoor Family program to help you to hone or to develop outdoor skills. During one or two-night workshops, state park staff lead families through the basics of setting up camp and getting the most out of their time in nature.

All camping gear and equipment required for an overnight stay at the park is included with each reservation! Just bring your family—that’s up to six people—sheets, blankets and food and you are ready for a camping adventure.

But you need to register in advance, and workshops fill fast. Workshops are scheduled in March at Lake Tawakoni State Park, Galveston Island State Park, Buescher State Park, Lake Ray Roberts State Park, and Huntsville State Park. There are more workshops in April, May and June at other state parks.

Texas Outdoor Family Workshops are always fun; you’ll leave the park with new confidence in your ability to enjoy overnight camping with your family and friends.

Find details in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Winter Shell Collecting in Texas

Monday, January 29th, 2018
Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

This is passport to Texas

Nobody thinks twice about collecting shells from the beach. But I started to wonder if it’s really okay since beaches are public land.

It’s okay to collect shells. The ones that are broken and come apart, they create the sand that’s out there, but there is no law against it [collecting].

Paul Hammerschmidt, retired from coastal fisheries, is a lifelong shell collector. He says collect responsibly to avoid creating problems for the environment or marine animals.

I highly recommend that you only take shells that are from dead animals—not live animals.

How can you determine if something is still alive? In the case of the popular sand dollar, small spines cover the shells of living animals…so look for smooth, spineless shells. If, like me, you’ve never found a sand dollar on the beach—there’s good reason for it.

I think it’s because everybody wants to get a sand dollar. And, too, they’re another very fragile shell. And when the waves are strong, they’ll get broken up, and you’ll just see fragments of them. A lot of times, the best time to find a sand dollar, is after a storm—and then very early in the morning—before anybody else gets out on the beach.

More tips on when and where to go shelling tomorrow.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House. Joel Block Engineers our program.

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.

TPW TV–El Paso Envoy

Friday, January 12th, 2018
Hueco Tanks pictograph

Hueco Tanks pictograph

This is Passport to Texas

If you’ve been to Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site in El Paso, count yourself among the lucky.

Hueco Tanks isn’t the smallest state park, but it’s definitely the most exclusive. It’s capped at 72 people a day.

Next week the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS explores the park with an enthusiastic El Paso native.

I’m Clara Cobb, and I run a couple social media sites here in El Paso. What you really do [in social media] is tell stories. And that’s my attraction—absolutely—to Hueco Tanks. It’s a place where people have been telling stories for 10,000 years.

The stories are still being told with the rock art left behind by early inhabitants who were drawn to the site because of the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos. You can learn more on a pictograph tour…

 [Clara] Which takes you behind the scenes to some of the more exclusive places.

[Interpreter] Welcome to site 17. This is lower 17—also known as newspaper cave. You have above us these cream colored shapes that date back to Apache era, roughly, somewhere around two to 400 years old. A bit more recently than them, this orange-ish horse shape right here. Everyone always thinks that is native American cave art. It’s not.

Acquaint yourself with Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site on next week’s Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

Another Texas Park Gets Dark Sky Designation

Thursday, January 11th, 2018
You can see the Milky Way at Big Bend Ranch State Park

You can see the Milky Way at Big Bend Ranch State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Good news for star gazers: Big Bend Ranch State Park is the latest Texas State Park designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association—or IDA.

It joins neighboring Big Bend National Park to form one of the largest contiguous areas under dark-skies protection in the United States.

This designation is an important step forward in the conservation of some of the darkest night skies remaining in the lower 48 states.

Now let this sink in: With the inclusion of Big Bend Ranch State Park , we have secured the protection of natural nighttime darkness in Texas over an area larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Mind blown, right?

Big Bend Ranch SP, located in the remote and rugged Trans-Pecos region, is known for giving visitors an untamed, wilderness experience. Preserving the dark sky is key to that experience and something all visitors treasure.

BBRSP joins Copper Breaks State Park, South Llano River State Park and Enchanted Rock State Park in holding the prestigious IDA designation.

Find more information about the Dark Skies program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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.

Laughter Lifted Spirits on a Mountain

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Image by Tyler Priest

Image by Tyler Priest

This is Passport to Texas

Tom Harvey had a personal reason for backpacking the rugged Rancherias Loop at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Well, frankly, I turned 60, and I wanted to do some adventures before I got too old.

Tall, lean and fit, Harvey is deputy communications director at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Joining him on the hike were 10 former state park youth ambassadors, all more than half his age.

It’s really, really beautiful to meet these young people that are just drawn to nature and wilderness. A lot of them are newbies to this—but they’re drawn to it.

Tom shares his experience in the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We settled on this because it seemed like something that was a big adventure, but doable. And the trail had been blazed. There was a clear route. And it was a classic that hadn’t been written about much in the magazine—so I thought: why not? You know, we’ll write about the Rancherias Loop.

No stranger to wilderness backpacking, Tom says the first night they scrambled to set up camp ahead of a storm.

Well, it was scary when it was happening. We barely got those tents up when the rain hit. And it was blowing a gale. It was very tense.

Find out what happened to the backpackers in the January/February of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine; on newsstands now.

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