Archive for March, 2010

Coastal Kayaking: Paddling Etiquette

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Don’t leave your good sense or your manners on the shore when you go kayaking.

Oftentimes you’re kayaking in very shallow water, and you think you won’t need a life jacket. But every now and then you can get into a channel or a deep pocket, and if you do happen to flip over…it’s very nice not to be worried about losing your life.

Jim Blackburn is a kayaking enthusiast from Houston. Another kayaking tip: there’s safety in numbers.

Always go with a partner. It’s something very easily enjoyed with a group. And I think that’s the way it should be done.

Blackburn would know. He’s been kayaking for years, and has written a book…

Called the Book of Texas Bays… that has a lot of stories about kayaking…a lot of experiences about kayaking in it.

In addition to being safe while paddling in Texas’ coastal waters, remember others are also enjoying the resource.

If you encounter people that are fishing, you might look at the direction the fisherman is wading, come around behind him… move away from the shoreline…go around the fisherman if they happen to be wading around the shoreline. Sometimes during the winter duck hunting is going on. Over in the Lighthouse Lakes trails there can be duck hunting. You want to make sure you don’t paddle into some decoys.

Download a Canoeing and Kayaking resource guide from

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our show, and is funded by your purchase of fishing and equipment and motor boat fuels. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Coastal Kayaking: Options for All

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

I’m uncoordinated, plus I don’t like feeling confined. So the thought of squeezing into a kayak, doesn’t float my boat. But after talking with kayaking enthusiast Jim Blackburn, I realize I have options.

There’s hope for all of you out there that feel uncoordinated and have trouble – sit-on-top kayaks is the way to go.

Blackburn is an environmental attorney and planner in Houston.

These open cockpit kayaks are really – in my opinion – the way to go because they’re so stable and they’re so non-confining. People who have had trouble with kayaks in the past absolutely love them. I have no trouble at all with stability with these sit-on-top kayaks.

The trade off with sit-on-top kayaks is… you get wet.

Water comes up around your bottom when you’re sitting there, so you get wet during the summer. During the winter, we wear waders when we waders when we use these kayaks.

Getting your britches soaked… to get closer to the natural world …is worth it, says Blackburn, who does his kayaking along the Texas coast.

With a kayak, you can glide right on top of water that’s only a few inches deep, and you can get right up on a lot of the birds for sure, and oftentimes can see a lot of the fish as well.

Blackburn has tips and etiquette for Kayakers tomorrow.

Our show’s made possible by the Sport Fish Restoration Program… funded by your purchase of fishing and equipment and motor boat fuels. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Outdoor Story: Coastal Kayaking

Monday, March 29th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Jim Blackburn—an environmental attorney and planner from Houston—shares one of the more memorable kayaking experiences he has had along the Texas coast.

We were out on Bolivar flats in our kayaks, and there were literally thousands of avocets, which are gorgeous black and white birds with sort of a brownish neck and sort of an upturned bill. They’re wading birds, probably about fourteen-sixteen inches in height. There were literally thousands of them, and they would sort of just rise and fall in a mass. Just the patterns that threes birds made, were just incredible to see. And I’ve just never seen that many avocets in one place.

When you’re on a kayak, says Blackburn, you can get closer to nature than you ever thought possible.

I oftentimes take my kayak to the rookery islands to see the large fish-eating birds – the herons… the egrets… going through their breeding rituals. And then later in the spring raising their young; those are really, really nice experiences.

Download a Canoeing and Kayaking resource guide from our revamped website,

That’s our show… made possible by the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program… helping to fund the operations and management of more than 50 wildlife management areas.

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

Texas Outdoor Families: Laredo

Friday, March 26th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Families

[:20 Wind ambience under script and sound bite] It was unusually windy as sixteen families checked-in at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park in Laredo to learn camping basics at a Texas Outdoor Family Workshop.

We’re going to talk about setting your camp up. As you probably know being from around here, wind makes everything a challenge, especially setting your tent up.

After a demo, and using loaner gear, families were in high spirits as they found their campsites and tested their new skills. [Little girls screaming] Friends, Jazlyn Salinas and Daejia Rodriguez, had a blast wrestling with their tent.

It’s a super windy day over here, and the tent is literally flying all away. So, have you girls been camping before? No. But I love it because it’s super cool.

[:04 hammering] Daejia’s mother Laurie assisted the girls.

I am trying to bang in one of these silver things (laughs); it holds the tent down. (laughs) And I am using a mallet to get it in this hard ground.

[:03 hammering] Rodriguez, who admitted to not being “outdoorsy,” took the wind and hard ground in stride, saying she was glad to have an opportunity to expose Daejia to camping in state parks through TOF.

So that’s why I decided to go ahead and come out here and, who knows, if she enjoys it, then, probably we’ll start camping every summer.

That’s our show for today, with support from Toyota. To learn about upcoming Texas Outdoor Family workshops visit For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Palmetto State Park

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

If you get the itch to visit an exotic tropical locale, but are short on time, and want to skip all the shots, do the next best thing: visit Palmetto State Park.

Named for the dwarf palmetto palm found around the ephemeral swamp, some areas of the 270 acre park resemble the tropics more than they do Central Texas.

Located in Gonzales County, between Gonzales and Luling, Palmetto State Park abuts the San Marcos River, making it a favorite place for canoeists to put in.

Situated within the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, the park has a reputation as a birding “hot spot.” Birders from across the country flock to Palmetto State Park to view many of the over 240 species of birds observed within the park’s boundaries.

Palmetto State Park has more than 39 campsites – all with water, some with water and electricity. There’s a group camping area and a group picnic shelter complete with kitchen.

If you want to stretch your legs and imagination, trek the park’s 3 miles of interpretive and hiking trails.

State Parks are closer than you think, and really far out. Visit the Texas parks and Wildlife website to start planning your state park adventure today.

That’s our show… remember—Life’s Better Outside!

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