Archive for July, 2010

Dabney Says: State Parks Will Thrive

Friday, July 30th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

When Walt Dabney became Director of Texas State Parks, most parks, and their equipment, were in sad shape.

07—That’s much better now. We’re not where we need to be, but we are moving along in a very positive fashion right now.

After 11 years of hard work with a talented and dedicated staff at Parks and Wildlife, Dabney is retiring, and insists the Texas Park system will be fine without him.

24—And I absolutely expect this to be the case: that it makes no difference when I leave. To the extent that isn’t the case, then I really didn’t succeed. Because any organization that’s dependent on a given personality isn’t going to be a successful organization. And so, I feel absolutely great that if I go out of here that there are people who can step in and probably take it to a higher level even than it is now.

Dabney has worked in the national and in state park systems for 42 years, and until his last day on August 31, he will continue to make Texas State Parks the best they can be…and finally even spend time enjoying them.

24—Somebody the other day said you’ve got the best job in the world, you spend all your time in parks. And I looked like them like I thought they were kidding. I don’t spend almost any time in parks. And when I do it’s to help them with a problem or something like that. I love to mountain bike, I love to fish and hunt, and I wouldn’t even mind swinging a golf club every once in awhile. I’ve got some park related projects that I want to do. You can’t do that by being in the office all day long.

We hope you enjoy your retirement, Walt, and we hope to see you in Texas state parks soon.

01—Oh, you will.

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

Walt Dabney’s Life in Parks

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

11—My colleague who was the director at Utah state parks, when he heard I was taking this job said: do you have any clue what you’re getting into. And in retrospect I didn’t.

Good thing, too, because if Walt Dabney had known the condition in which he’d find Texas state parks 11 Years ago, he might have passed on the director’s job.

14—The people were incredible, but the conditions of the park system was absolutely applauding. We didn’t have any money; we were very understaffed in many places. Many of our facilities were in very bad shape.

Dabney hit the ground running and never looked back.

18—We got to work. And when I say ‘we,’ this isn’t a Walt deal. This is all of us pulling together, really working hard. And then about five years ago, the legislature did start to understand that their park system was in deep trouble. And since that time we really have started turning it around.

With an infusion of funding from the legislature, equipment, facilities, staffing, interpretive programs, and park law enforcement improved.

14—We’ve gotten repair funds, we’re making great progress there. We’ve added program support where we have the professional capability in-house now to support the things you need to do to run a great park system.

After more than a decade at the helm of Texas State Parks, and more than 40 years in the state park business, Walt Dabney is retiring. That’s tomorrow.

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

¿Habla usted español–Help Train Hunters

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

The average age of Texas hunters is mid-forties. As these hunters decrease their time in the field, some increase their time in the classroom.

06—Some become [hunter education] instructors, and really want to give back to something they’ve enjoyed all throughout their lives.

Terry Erwin oversees the hunter education program at Texas Parks and Wildlife, where there’s a growing need for instructors with special skills.

13—Parks and Wildlife has a lot of constituents who are bilingual, and who just speak Spanish. We are looking for bilingual instructors that are able to teach the hunter education program in Spanish and English.

The Hispanic population in Texas is growing, and Parks and Wildlife wants to ensure this group has access to hunter education, and a great outdoor experience.

11—We certainly could use those instructors to help us reach those constituents that we normally wouldn’t be able to reach. And, we do want to offer them [Spanish speaking constituents] an opportunity to get out in the outdoors and enjoy it.

We have information on becoming a volunteer Hunter Education instructor at

We record our series at the Production Block Studios in Austin.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program supports our show…and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

TPW Magazine August Preview

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Learn what happens when a couple of middle-aged men challenge themselves to experience Big Bend Ranch State park on foot, bike, raft and horseback. It’s in the August issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine; Editor, Louie Bond.

Last August we had a great adventure, and it was so much fun that we decided to repeat it again this year. So we’ve sent two of the state’s top talents—photographer Laurence Parent and writer Joe Nick Patoski off on another great adventure.

Last year they walked the spine of the Franklin Mountains in one day, which was quite grueling, and a great armchair adventure for all of us. This year, they’ve taken on Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in the state, and probably the most rugged.

So, they’ve taken on Big Bend Ranch State Park by hiking, by mountain biking, by raft, and much against their will, on horseback. And, over the course of a few days, they logged, 13 miles on bicycles, 6 miles hiking, 5 miles on horseback, and 8 miles paddled on a very still river.

It’s a great read, and a lot of fun, and I think our readers will enjoy it.

The August issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now. Or you can subscribe. Find out how at

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

State Parks Myth #4–Fees are too High

Monday, July 26th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas SP Getaways

[09 SFX …counting pennies]

Do you feel like you have to count your pennies for months before you can afford a family vacation?

Well, put away the piggy bank.

[03 SFX …pig squeal]

Our State Park Guide, Bryan Frazier says, state parks offer affordable and fun family vacations.

When you’re planning your trip, something you always want to factor in is just how expensive is it going to be. We’re proud to say in state parks, not only are we competitive with what a lot of people do for entertainment, but a lot of the time, we’re much less expensive.

For instance, kids age 12 and under are always free entrance into state parks. We have programs like the free fishing in state parks where you don’t need a fishing license to fish inside a state park; that can save people some money.

Our campsites are reasonably priced. Adult entrance fees range anywhere from three to six dollars a person. And that’s for all day. In addition to being less expensive a lot of the time, that money also goes to benefit our parks.

So, if we were prices out of the market, it really wouldn’t be to our mission. We want to be accessible and let most everyone enjoy the outdoors in Texas. That’s what we do, and that is our mission.

Thanks, Bryan.

Start planning your next state park getaway when you log onto

That’s our show for today…We record our series at the Production Block Studios in Austin, Texas…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.