Archive for the 'Nature Tourism' Category

Dark Skies Over the Devil’s River

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Devils River State Natural Area – Del Norte Unit. Photo: Jerod Roberts

This is Passport to Texas

If you haven’t already heard, let me tell you: Devils River State Natural Area was designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association.

It is the only Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas, and only the sixth International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world! Let that sink in a moment. Devils River SNA is one of the darkest and most ecologically fragile sites on the planet.

The designation brings further awareness to the Devils River and its surrounding landscapes as irreplaceable resources that should be preserved for future generations to appreciate.

Located in southwest Texas, Devils River SNA is far from cities and is home to one of the most pristine rivers in the state. It lies in the cross section of three ecological regions making the site a biologically diverse habitat for plants, fish and native wildlife—including a rare salamander and several protected fish species.

It joins Big Bend Ranch State Park, Copper Breaks State Park, South Llano River State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, as the fifth park to hold a prestigious IDA Dark Sky designation in the Texas State Park system.

Learn more about the dark skies of Texas on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Where to see Bald Eagles

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Bald Eagle at Lake Texoma. Image by: Hilary Roberts

This is Passport to Texas

After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing. It was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

The symbol of our nation got its name from an old English word “piebald”—which means white faced.

You’ll find bald eagles in every state but Hawaii; the largest US concentration thrives in Alaska.

These impressive birds also spend time in the Central and East Texas. Want to see one?

You’ll have the best luck finding eagles on lakes and rivers during peak season, which is October through March. Start your search at a Texas State Park.

Visitors to Fairfield Lake State Park, southeast of Dallas consistently spot bald eagles. They’ve also been seen at Martin Creek Lake State Park, near Longview.

There’s a bald eagle nesting site at Lake Texana, 35 mi. northeast of Victoria. Visitors can see them from the viewing stand on the east side of the parking lot.

In Central Texas, folks often spot the birds around Lake Buchanan, which is 70 miles northwest of Austin.

If you see bald eagles this fall or winter, document your observation at the Texas Eagle Nest project on iNaturalist.org.

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

Shell Collecting and Wildlife Viewing (You)

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Matagorda Island. Image: USFWS

This is Passport to Texas

A leisurely stroll along one of Texas’ public beaches might include finding a sand dollar or two.

But at Matagorda Island WMA—you can pick up dozens of sand dollars, as well as giant Atlantic cockles and even shark’s teeth.

Shells are abundant on the island. And don’t be surprised if while sifting through the sand, you feel like you’re being watched.

It’s not uncommon to look up from your collecting pursuits to see members of the island’s white-tailed deer population a comfortable distance away, keeping tabs on your every move.

Or perhaps one or more of the 300 species of migratory birds that visit the island will fly in for a closer look, waiting to see what your efforts uncover.

During fall and winter, you might even see endangered whooping cranes.

Be mindful of when you visit, as the island is popular with hunters during whitetail season.

Matagorda Island WMA consists of nearly 57-thousand acres and is an offshore barrier island. All interior access is via hiking, biking, or TPWD vehicles during scheduled hunts or tours. No private motorized vehicles! There’s more information on the TPW website.

Out show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Caddo Lake Paddling Trail

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
Paddling on Caddo Lake

Paddling on Caddo Lake

This is Passport to Texas

Gliding along the paddling trails on Caddo Lake in East Texas is at once intimate and humbling: mist dancing on the water; banks flanked by giant, moss-covered bald cypress; the chorus of birds; habitat teaming with diverse and abundant wildlife. It’s a special place.

It’s beyond words to describe how wonderful this place is.

Vanessa Adams worked as a resource specialist with parks and wildlife.

The paddling trails here on Caddo Lake will get you back into some habitat that is just not everywhere, it’s unique. It gets you into a place that you may have never seen before.

Marshall, Texas resident, and Caddo Lake paddling enthusiast, Sandra Phillips, says she feels close to the earth when she’s on this enigmatic lake.

You can’t find this well really anywhere else. All the network of canals and the swampyness of it.

Caddo Lake is different every season; Adams says paddlers need to return often to experience the full effect.

You gotta get out on the boat, you gotta get in the swamp and you really gotta sit down and you gotta sit and listen.

Find more information about Caddo Lake and discover other unique Texas paddling trails on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW Magazine: Texas Surfing Championships

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Surf’s up in Corpus Christi. Image from http://www.visitcorpuschristitx.org

This is Passport to Texas

While you won’t find world-class waves along Texas’ 367 miles of coastline, you will find a legion of surfing enthusiasts engaging the sport with almost cult-like fanaticism.

And in the May issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine writer, Dave Brown, introduces readers to competitive surfers, in his article: Epic Texas Challenge — Texas Surfing Championships.

Brown puts readers in the middle of the action at the Texas Gulf Surfing Association State Surfing Championships, held each spring at Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi.

In the article, we meet surfers, including nine-year-old Keagan Sohls who won the state champion titles in both the Menehune and Micro-Grom divisions. And longtime surfer, Brett Hopkins, who is a grandfather.

Brown writes: There weren’t many surfers in Texas before 1960, but by 1965 that changed. Perhaps due to the Beach Boys romanticizing the sport.

Whet your appetite for surfing with Dave Brown’s article: Epic Texas Challenge — Texas Surfing Championships in the May issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

That’s our show…. brought to you in part by Ram trucks: built to serve.

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