Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Clean Climbing

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Rock Climbing at Lake Mineral Wells State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Some of Texas’ best rock climbing spots are in our state parks, including Hueco Tanks, Lake Mineral Wells and Enchanted Rock.

As the sport’s popularity has increased, so, too, has the potential for overuse and abuse of these natural resources. Over time, the practice of “clean climbing” has gained traction among devotees of the sport, who are committed to preserving the integrity of the rocks they scale.
Clean climbing is climbing without items—such as bolts—that get left behind. It takes more effort and thought, but those who engage this practice find it fulfilling.

When you do a clean climb, you ensure that those who come after you do not see signs of a previous climb. It’s similar to Leave No Trace.

This method of climbing involves more of a commitment, and works best with multiple climbers. When employing this style, the first climber is responsible for placement of protection gear like camming devices and slings. The climber who follows then removes those items on their way up.

Clean climbing is another way to enjoy unspoiled nature and not spoiling it for those who come after you, either.

That’s our show…we receive support in part from RAM Trucks…build to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Overcoming Outdoor Anxieties

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Eco-therapist, Amy Sugeno. Image from her Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

Did you know that spending time outdoors may be the cure for people who are anxious about spending time outdoors?

There are ions that come up out of the soil and tend to have these effects—like calming the nervous system.

Former TPWD biologist, Amy Sugeno is a licensed clinical social worker and eco-therapist. She says medical researchers studied earthing, which involves direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth. Among its benefits, researchers found it produced feelings of well-being.

Something as simple as gardening without gloves. Barefoot walking is kind of becoming more popular. You can just sit in your backyard, take your shoes and socks off, and just put your feet onto the grass, or onto the ground.

Anxiety about spending time outdoors is common.

Back when I was working for Parks and Wildlife and would take groups of children out, it would not be uncommon for a child to say, well wait a minute, are there skunks out here? Are there snakes out here? And I would be surprised because I’m so used to being out in the field. But it would remind me that there are anxieties for people.

Other anxieties develop around whether one has the necessary skills to stay safe outdoors. Eco-therapist Amy Sugeno addresses the topic of outdoor anxiety and how to manage it during a segment in our new long-format podcast called Under the Texas Sky.

Find it at or wherever you get your podcasts.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Sam Bass’ Treasure

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Longhorn Cavern

This is Passport to Texas

At Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet County, folks are still searching for Sam Bass’ gold.

Sam Bass was a Texas outlaw who died in 1877 in Round Rock, Texas at a fairly young age. He was shot trying to rob a Round Rock bank.

Legend has it that that Sam Bass used Longhorn Cavern as a hideout and that he left stolen money there. Some of the rumors circulating at the time had his ill-gotten gain totaling upwards of two million dollars’ worth of gold.
No one knows for certain if Sam Bass hid that much gold in Longhorn Caverns, or hid any gold—or even visited the cavern, for that matter.

The real treasure is its geology and history. Geologically, it has formations known as calcite channels, crystals, columns and draperies.

Historically: Confederates used the cavern during the Civil War to make gun powder from bat guano. In the 1920s, during prohibition, Burnet County residents used the cave as a speakeasy; they installed a wooden dance floor where residents danced to live bands.

In addition to cavern tours, check out the calendar section of the TPW website for events planned inside the cavern.

That’s our show for today…Brought to you in part by RAM Trucks. Built to Serve.

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

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 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.

Does it Scare You? Then do it!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Rock Climbing at Lake Mineral Wells State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Hard to believe, but another new year nearly here. When Karen Zimmerman was at Texas Parks and Wildlife, she coordinated the agency’s State Park Ambassador program. Back then she offered suggestions for ways to connect with the outdoors and with yourself any time of year.

If you’re not getting outside try to go outside – even if it’s just walking outside. It’s amazing the benefits that that can bring to our mind. If you need to think on a problem, you should just let it marinate in your head while you walk amongst some trees. But, if you’re already into the outdoors recreation somewhat, and you want to take it a step further, I think the best resolution you can make to yourself is to try something that scares you. Because, there were so many things that I thought I just wasn’t tough enough to do – like repelling. And you might cry a little bit while you do it, but then afterwards you are going to feel so good. And, there is nothing in the world that can boost your confidence for months than undertaking something that scares you like that – and succeeding – because it’s actually not that hard, and you don’t need to be in that great of shape to do most of these outdoor activities.

Explore outdoor activities available in state parks and natural areas when you visit the

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