Archive for June, 2012

State Parks: Wyler Tramway Open for Fun

Friday, June 29th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

The Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park features gondola that takes visitors a mile up Ranger Peak…for a 7-thousand square mile view of three states and two nations. Our state park guide Bryan Frazier says the tramway is ready for business again after being closed for more than a month.

51—it was closed for a number of weeks while they made some repairs and got some new cable and made some improvement. So, it’s now back open again. So, not only can people ride the tramway up and down, but you can also now do a one-way trip where you can ride the tramway up and take a beautiful hike down back to where your vehicle is parked. And you’re talking about something that is four dollars for adults on that one-way and seven dollars for adults when you ride it both ways. So it’s very reasonable, and a unique experience, that you can only do in Texas—and only in a state park. And, people can even do it in the evening when the lights are coming up from the city and it’s a breathtaking view when you’re out in that part of the world. So, don’t just enjoy the great Mexican food and things that we can find out in El Paso. Get out and see those Chihuahuan desert features. And there’s no way to see that like the Wyler Arial Tramway.

Thanks Bryan

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

New Online Volunteer Sign Up

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

02—Volunteers are extremely important.

Volunteers save Texas Parks and Wildlife millions of dollars annually. And it’s never been easier to help the agency.

Kris Shipman, who coordinates Coastal Expos for the agency, uses up to 100 volunteers at a time for her events…and was instrumental in the development of a new online volunteer system for Parks and Wildlife.

11—Volunteers can actually now go onto our parks and Wildlife website and look up volunteer opportunities anywhere in the state for any project they would be interested in doing; they can sign up online.

The system went live in February and it’s already getting a work out. Staff that coordinate agency programs requiring volunteers may access the database and contact registrants about opportunities that fit their interests.

21—One of the great things about this systems is that it’s set up so we can go back in and search. For example, with the coastal expo, if I’m going to be in Corpus Christi doing this event, I’ll need volunteers. I can go in and do a search for all the people that have signed up that are in Corpus Christi, and I can send an email out to them letting them know that I’m going to be there and I have this event if you want to come volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to learn something new, to get outside, and to make new friends. Access the volunteer database on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. Or find a link to it on our website:

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

Conservation: Interacting with Wildlife

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Most of us get pretty excited over wildlife—even the critters we find in our own backyards. Richard HILE-brun, with Wildlife Diversity says contact with these creatures enriches our lives.

62—The best thing to take with you when you go into wildlife habitat is something to enjoy wildlife with—whether it’s a digital camera, or a pair of binoculars, or a field guide. That way you can observe the wildlife, learn a little bit about it, and maybe even have some fun in terms of a challenge, or a game, or a scavenger hunt. I’m intrigued by this scavenger hunt idea. Tell us how we might do something like that. Well, one of my favorite things to do with young kids is to give them a set of objectives. I want you to find a bug. For older kids, I want you to find a butterfly, I want you to find a moth, I want you to find this kind of caterpillar…I want you to observe ten different types of songbirds, and I tell me what they eat by what kind of bill they have. When you give them a challenge it becomes a game, and they get into it and they get excited. Before you know it, they spent their whole day interacting with nature; searching, discovering, developing a sense of wonder with wildlife. And that sense of discovery is what endears them to nature and wildlife and conservation as adults.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and is celebrating 75 years of funding diverse conservation projects throughout Texas…

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

Invasives: Zebra Mussels–One Solution

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Zebra mussels, originally native to SE Russia, were first detected in the Great Lakes in 1988. It’s thought they arrived in the ballast water of ocean going ships that crossed the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 2009, they showed up in Lake Texoma.

17—They’re just getting to Texas now, but they’ve caused millions and millions and millions of dollars of damage to water industries, the ability to move water from rivers to reservoirs, or from reservoirs through municipal water supplies. They’ve created just a lot of problems throughout the country.

Dave Terre, Chief of research and management at Texas Parks and Wildlife, says zebra mussels are an ecological and economic threat. They clog municipal water lines and harm aquatic life.

17— The water in lake Texoma contains a form of the zebra mussel called veligers—they’re actually small larvae that you cannot see. So, the only way to keep the larvae from moving to other water bodies across the state (through the contamination by boats) is by draining the water out of your boat.

Draining and drying your boats before leaving Lake Texoma isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law.

10— What’s required is that people pull the plugs in their boats, drain all the water out, and make sure any device in the boat that contains water is drained before leaving Lake Texoma.

Find additional details on the TPW website.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program supports our series and funds conservation projects in Texas.

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

Invasives: Zebra Mussels

Monday, June 25th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Unlike invasive feral hogs and tiger shrimp, the half-inch zebra mussel is too small to eat, and not very tasty if you do. Too bad; if they had food value, you could get your fill at Lake Texoma in North Texas.

10—Zebra mussels are an invasive species that got into Lake Texoma—probably by boat—back in April 2009. Since then, the population’s expanded greatly.

Chief of research and management at Texas Parks and Wildlife, Dave Terre, says the small, rapidly reproducing shellfish can wreak havoc in a water body.

14— These zebra mussels colonize boats, which can actually damage your boat. They can load up on beaches and cause problems wading while swimming. They clog pipes. They do all sorts of damage to our natural resources as well.

It’s not uncommon to find multiple zebra mussels attached to native mussels, eventually killing them. Unless Lake Texoma boaters take precautions, they can unwittingly transport zebra mussel adults, or their microscopic larvae, to uninfected waters.

18— We want to encourage people to get outdoors, and go fishing and go boating. But at Lake Texoma, boaters need to be aware that it’s important for them to clean, drain and dry their boat before they go to another water body to prevent the spread of zebra mussels across the state.

We’ll learn more about this invasive species tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and funds conservation projects in Texas.

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