Archive for the 'Events' Category

Start 2019 with a First Day Hike

Thursday, December 20th, 2018
First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to making New Year resolutions, some folks are all talk. And then, there are other people walk their talk. For the past several years, the folks who walk their talk have been using the New Year as an excuse to bust a move on state park trails during First Day Hike events.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide initiative that Texas State Parks has been participating in for the last several years.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks. He says most state parks throughout Texas host First Day Hike Events. First days hikes have become a great way for Texans to begin the New Year in a healthy fashion.

Essentially, it’s the concept of getting outside on January first, and doing something to kick the year off right. So, almost all of our parks have some sort of first day hike. A few of our parks take it a unique way. But many of our parks do have those first day hikes. And they’re, of course, guided hikes with a park ranger. And it’s just a way to start the year off right on the good foot. Literally.

Find First Day Hike events at texasstateparks.org. While you’re there check out other healthy opportunities like yoga in the woods, women only hikes, hikes with shelter dogs, and more.

That’s our show for today… We record our series at the Block House in Austin, Texas…Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Catch (and Eat) the Rainbow (Trout)

Friday, December 14th, 2018
Catching Rainbows

A happy angler shows off a rainbow trout caught in a Dallas-area community fishing lake stocked annually by TPWD.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler who likes to eat what you catch, then now’s the time to reel in a rainbow trout.

We stock them at a catchable and eatable size. They are good fighting fish; they’re relatively easy to catch. We usually stock them in smaller bodies of water, so they’re a good fishing, catching opportunity and good eating opportunity as well.

Carl Kittel is a program director for Inland Fisheries, and oversees winter trout stocking in Texas, which began this month.

We’ve been stocking [rainbow] trout around Texas for almost 40 years. One interesting note about trout is that we often say there are no established populations of trout in Texas, but actually, way out west in the Davis Mountains there’s a small, tiny stream at high enough elevation that there is a reproducing population of rainbow trout.

That’s why we stock them in winter; most of Texas is too hot for the. Inland fisheries will distribute 250-thousand rainbows in 150 locations.

And we have a special program; we actually stock somewhat larger trout in urban areas in our Neighborhood Fishin’ Program. And that’s something that you can specifically look for on our web page.

With the winter holidays here, it’s is a great time go fishing with the kids. Find the stocking schedule on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series and funds rainbow trout stocking in Texas.

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

A Fishing Line at the End of the Rainbow

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Stocking Rainbow trout. Photo by Larry Hodge.

This is Passport to Texas

It’s the holiday season, and chances are you have a few days off with the family. You can stay indoors and eat a bunch of holiday baked goods, or you can get to a lake or pond and reel in a rainbow. A rainbow trout, that is.

We do winter stockings when the water temperatures permit it, to provide an opportunity for anglers to catch trout in Texas. It’s a species of fish that anglers wouldn’t catch otherwise, so we stock them, and we intend them all to be caught out during the season.

Carl Kittel is a program director for Inland Fisheries. He says the agency will stock about 150 sites around the state, and will distribute approximately 250-thousand catchable rainbow trout. Perhaps even up to 300-thousand.

The fish will be divided among the various locations, including urban neighborhood fishin’ holes.

We publish a schedule on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department webpage. Look for the winter trout stocking link.

Carl Kittel says we stock rainbows in winter because these fish cannot survive our hot summers. So, when you reel one in this winter, take it home and eat it.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series and helps to fund rainbow trout stocking in Texas.

We record our series at The Block House in Austin, Texas and Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Making Birds Count

Monday, December 10th, 2018
Christmas Bird Count participants. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Christmas Bird Count participants. Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

This is Passport to Texas

In the 1800s, an annual competition called The Side Hunt pitted teams of hunters against one another. They wanted to see who could bag the most feathered and furry things. Once people woke up and smelled the carnage, in 1900, the Side Hunt evolved into The Christmas Bird Census–and finally the Christmas Bird Count. The only thing people kill in the count is a little time, and maybe a thermos of coffee. The event’s in its 118th year.

Which makes it the longest running citizen science project in the world. Which is pretty impressive, and it started right here in the US.

Texas Parks and Wildlife ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford. Birders count from inside a 15-mile diameter circle.

You go out into a fixed area and count birds. And the neat thing is, if you stick with that area like you should, and you do it for 10, 20, 30, 40 years–you start seeing trends.

Trend spotting is the true value of the bird count.

Those counts that are very old, that have forty plus years of data, we can start seeing things. And we are. We’re seeing things like the American Tree Sparrow is not coming down to Texas much anymore. I don’t think they’re rare, they just don’t need to come all the way south for “maybe”climate change. Maybe it’s not so cold up north; they don’t need to come down. That’s the beauty of the Christmas Bird Count — you can look at it continentally– and see where the changes are in the bird life.

Tomorrow … how the Christmas Bird Count works.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Christmas in Texas State Parks

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Christmas at Sauer Beckman Farm.

This is Passport to Texas

The holiday season is a special time to visit your state parks. Parks throughout Texas offer festive activities that could cause even old Scrooge, himself, to crack a smile.

Check out the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for a complete listing of holiday events in parks. Until you do, here are a few of our favorites for your consideration.

December seventh, join rangers and visitors at Tyler State Park for a stroll around the lake as the sun goes down… and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of winter.

December eight, Fort Richardson SP & HS—a half hour south of Jacksboro—invites visitors to observe ‘ghosts’ of cavalry soldiers and their families as they celebrate Christmas in an 1870’s U.S military post.

On the 12th through the 15th of December, Daingerfield SP in Daingerfield invites visitors to drive through the park, which will be lit up like Santa Land and meet Santa himself on Friday and Saturday!

And, on December sixteenth, head over to Johnson City for the 49th Annual tree lighting at LBJ State Park and Historic Site. Join the Texas Hill Country Community in this special tradition started 49 years ago by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Enjoy carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments and of course, the spectacular tree lighting. Then revisit the past at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Find more holiday events at state parks in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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