Archive for August, 2010

State Park Improvements: DFW Area Parks

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Thanks to legislative appropriations over the past two biennia, folk living in or traveling to the DFW area will enjoy improved hookups. It’s not as naughty as it sounds. Our state park guide, Bryan Frazier, explains.

Cedar Hill SP is already one of our largest camping parks; it’s got more than 300 campsites. And so, we’re getting some hookup improvements at some of those bigger camping loops at Cedar Hill State park. And it sits right there on the Tarrant Dallas County Line. I mean, you can actually see part of the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium from parts of the park. That’s how in the urban area Cedar hill is.

And it gets a lot of visitation, a lot of people use it—and rightfully so. And so we’re going to be able to put several hundred thousand dollars toward improvements in that. They’re making it more ADA compliant. The camping looks…trails…it’s going to be a better experience there at Cedar Hill.

And then at Tyler SP…that’s a CCC park, built in the 30s, and some structures are going to get renovated, some camping loops are going to get some improvements, and it’s a popular park with people. It’s not that far I20 from the DFW area. It represents previous bienniums legislative money that voters approved and it’s now showing up on the ground that really will enhance the visitor experience.

Find more information about Cedar Hill and Tyler State parks at

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

Oyster Restoration, Part 2

Monday, August 30th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

In Galveston Bay, some volunteers are gardening oysters. But they’re not looking to eat their produce.

(Water sounds)…We’ve got to rinse off some of the muck.

Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Bill Rodney pulls up one of the mesh bags that hang off some of the private piers in San Leon.

The pier owners filled these bags with oyster shells and put them in the water at the beginning of the summer. Now, they are teeming with crabs, shrimp, small fish and baby oyster.

Rodney says none of these little critters will be staying in the bags.

Probably in the late fall we’ll pull up all these bags and then we’ll take them out to the reefs that we built to give those little communities a jump start.

It’s like seeing the reef. These reefs aren’t far from shore or the avid anglers of San Leon.

This is a big fishing community. Their motto is they are a drinking community with a fishing problem. These reefs will create structure that attracts fish. By having the reefs close to their pier, they won’t have to go out so far to find fish, and hopefully it will improve the recreational fishing around here.

Volunteers can’t eat the oysters they grow because the water close to shore doesn’t meet water quality standards, but these oysters will help repopulate reefs in the rest of the bay. And if that’s the case, this fishing community is more than happy to help.

That’s our show… we had research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan…the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Oyster Restoration, Part 1

Friday, August 27th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

On a recent day in East Galveston Bay, there are twelve boats driving back and forth in an area that is about the size of 70 football fields. Most of the boats are oyster and shrimping boats.

But Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Jennie Rohrer (Roar) says they aren’t fishing today. They’re helping restore oyster reefs that were destroyed by Hurricane Ike two years ago.

These boats are pulling what we are calling bagless dredges over an existing oyster reef that was covered up from sediment from Hurricane Ike. So instead of actually pulling up the oysters from the bottom, they’re just bringing the shells from underneath the sediment up on to the top of the existing sediment.

Oyster larvae need to attach to a hard surface in order to grow. So biologists hope that by exposing the shells, oysters will attach to them and slowly reestablish the reefs.

And Rohrer says oysters are a crucial part of this community’s livelihood.

Galveston Bay is very important in oyster harvest. And so a lot of money, a lot of effort, and a lot of people are hired through the commercial fishing industry.

East Galveston Bay is currently closed to commercial fishing to let the oysters grow and reproduce. But if all goes well, in two years, the oysters here should be ready for the catch.

That’s our show… we had research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan…the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

State Park Improvements: Bastrop & Buescher

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Side-by-side, Bastrop and Buescher State parks have delighted outdoors enthusiasts for decades. Over the last two biennia, the legislature increased funding for all parks. Now these neighbors are getting a makeover. Our state park guide, Bryan Frazier, is here to tell us more.

The cabins and the things that we have there—they’ve gotten a lot of use over the years—and so they’ve been due for some improvements, and people are going to see renovations to those at Bastrop State Park.

And people who’ve been to Bastrop know how wonderfully historic those cabins are, and they’re going to see those become better and improved. The gold course pro shop is getting a new roof. The dining hall and refectory at Buescher State Park is kind of the flagship, and it was built by the CCC, and it’s been in need of repair for a couple of years.

Several hundred thousand dollars are going to be put into renovating that facility. That’s going to be the primary thing there, at Buescher SP—what’s going to be done at the dining hall and refectory. And there are just going to be a lot of upgrades at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks.

Some of it’s going to be some trails and things that are going to be more ADA compliant. We’re going to renovate the bath house and the swimming pool at Bastrop State Park. So, again, we’re seeing monies from the previous two bienniums, put on the ground into real improvements and real facilities that people know and love and are going to be able to enjoy even more.

Tell us what you like about Bastrop and Buescher State Parks on our Facebook Fan page at

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

Texas Outdoor Story: Atlanta State Park

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Waco resident, Judith Nees, is passionate about Atlanta State Park in east Texas. She calls it a hidden gem, and says it is priceless.

Atlanta State Park has so much to offer. What I liked the most was the tent camping areas were spacious enough from each other that you would never know that you even had a neighbor for the way they’re designed. The park rangers there are very knowledgeable about the historical angle of the park. It was a Caddoan settlement at one time. There are mounds there from our understanding, but they are protected from the public, and I can understand why. The park has both fire rings as well as griddles to grill on. They offer electricity and water. We noticed the restrooms are very, very nice. They each have showers in them—very clean. And it’s just a nice park settled in East Texas.

With hiking and interpretive nature trails—in addition to fishing and swimming—Judith says everyone can find something to love about Atlanta SP.

Do you have a favorite state park you want to tell us about, or outdoor experience you want to share? Go to, and click on the tab for Outdoor Stories.

That’s our show…Remember: Life’s Better Outside…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.