Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Government Canyon: The Nearby Wilderness

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
Government Canyon

One of the many wild spaces at Government Canyon State Natural Area.

This is Passport to Texas

Comprised of more than 12-thousand acres of mostly undeveloped land, Government Canyon State Natural Area, outside of San Antonio, is not a state park.

Although we’re part of the Texas State Park system—we’re actually a natural area. So, our focus is primarily natural and cultural resource management. However, we do provide recreational opportunities here. We have about 40 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Superintendent Chris Holm says guests experience something entirely unique when they visit the site.

It is a unique experience, as we’re so close to the city of San Antonio. But yet, when you get out here and start hiking or biking into what we call the backcountry area, you think you’re out in the great wilderness of the North or something.

Open for visitation Friday through Monday only, Government Canyon frequently reaches maximum site occupancy on weekends.

Almost every weekend we’ll have a capacity closure because we get too many people coming out. We want people to experience Government Canyon. We want them to develop a love of the place. Stewardship. But at the same time we don’t want it to be destroyed [from overuse]. And, so, there’s a balancing act.

Tuesdays through Thursdays, site staff focus on resource management. There’s more info on Government Canyon at

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

A Mother’s Day as Big as the Outdoors

Monday, May 8th, 2017
Enjoying a Mother's Day picnic at a Texas State Park.

Enjoying a Mother’s Day picnic at a Texas State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

A card and breakfast in bed is a fine way to show mom your appreciation on Mother’s Day; but what about packing a picnic and taking mom to a state park instead?

With more than ninety Texas State Parks, there’s one close to you with plenty of outdoor opportunities for the entire family. But remember: keep the focus on mom.

Do you have an active mom? Then don some sturdy footwear and sunscreen and take to the trails for an invigorating hike [or nature walk]. Or, bring your bikes and take a freewheeling whirl around your favorite—or new favorite—park.

Remember the binoculars for wildlife viewing, and a camera so you can snap selfies with your mom in nature.

And that picnic? I have a link at to recipes that are perfect to take along on your Mother’s Day outing.

It doesn’t get much better than a picnic lunch surrounded by family and nature’s beauty.

Oh, and you know that Mother’s Day card you’re going to give to mom no matter what? How about tucking a State Park Pass into it so she can visit Texas State Parks all year long for free. Do that, you’ll be her favorite, for sure.

Find more information at

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

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

The Dark Skies of Texas

Monday, April 24th, 2017
South Llano River Light Pollution Map. The park is at the crosshairs.

South Llano River Light Pollution Map. The park is at the crosshairs.

This is Passport to Texas

An International Dark Sky Park is similar to a wildlife refuge. But instead of providing protection and habitat for animal species to thrive, these parks and surrounding communities protect the ebony backdrop of the night sky so stars can shine bright for our enjoyment.

Texas welcomed South Llano State Park, located outside of Junction, as its third International Dark Sky Park. It joins Copper Breaks State Park in the Panhandle and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Hill Country.

Five miles from the nearest town, South Llano River State Park ranks as a “3” on the Bortle [Dark Sky] Scale, which ranks skies from 1 to 9. One includes the darkest skies and nine the least dark. The darkness at South Llano River State Park provides visitors with a spectacular view of the stars.

Regular Dark Sky programming, such as star parties will be hosted throughout the year at the park. It’s where visitors can learn about the importance of dark skies to wildlife and people. It also allows the public to view the night sky, celestial objects and constellations free from light pollution.

For more information on the dark skies at Texas State Parks, visit the dark skies program page 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.

Celebrating a Pivotal Moment in Texas History

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Battle of San Jacinto Battle Reenactment

This is Passport to Texas

The Battle of San Jacinto was a game changer in Texas History. On April 21, 1836, an untrained Texian militia routed General Santa Ana’s troops.

The actual battle lasted less than half an hour; it carried on into the evening with clean up. But the main assault and the main fighting was done in less than half an hour.

Justin Rhodes is Region Four Director for State Parks, which includes the San Jacinto Battlegrounds in LaPorte. On Saturday, April 22th, the historic site celebrates this momentous battle with a reenactment and festival.

If you’re planning on coming out, I would recommend you arrive early when the crowds are low. That will give you plenty of time to visit the festival and get set up for the reenactment. The reenactment will occur only once during the day.

And that happens around 3 p.m. Rhodes hopes visitors leave with renewed appreciation for the sacrifices made on the battlefield in 1836.

Ultimately we want visitors to take away an appreciation of the significance of the site, the event, the history tht brought us to where we are today. So much of what we do today and tomorrow is based on lessons from the past – from the sacrifices that these men and women brought forward. They teach us valuable life lessons moving into the future.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The reenactment is at 3 p.m. details at

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

They Fought to Preserve a Way of Life

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
The Battle of San Jacinto

The Battle of San Jacinto

This is Passport to Texas

Six weeks after the fall of the Alamo General Sam Houston’s Texas army took less than 30 minutes to overpower Santa Ana’s militia, at what is now the San Jacinto Battleground.

San Jacinto is such a special place. It’s where we won our Texas independence. It’s where many scholars will argue that the history for not just Texas, but more so the United States — and even the world — was set with the Texian army winning that battle on April 21, 1836.

Justin Rhodes is the Region Four Director for State Parks, which includes the San Jacinto.

It’s interesting to sit down and talk to other historians and hear the “what ifs.” What if Texas did not win? Where would we be? Where would the United States be? Where would the world be without that victory that day? You know, where the battle occurred is right on – now – the Houston Ship Channel, which is one of the busier ports in the world.

The Texian Army was a rag tag crew of untrained men, battling against Santa Anna’s professional soldiers. Fighting on their home turf to preserve the lives they’d worked to achieve spurred them to victory.

Any time someone tries to take something that’s near and dear to your heart, you’re going to have that spirit that flows through to make you fight that much harder. And that was the backbone of the Texian army.

Celebrating the victory at San Jacinto is tomorrow.

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