Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Food, Fellowship and Dutch Ovens

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Cooking fluffy biscuits in a Dutch Oven.

This is Passport to Texas

Cleburne State Park, about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, has a spring-fed lake and shady trails. It also hosts a local group that’s passionate about their avocation.

We fell in love with the park and the people.

Dennis Clute is chapter advisor for the Chisolm Trail Chaparral Dutch Oven Society

We cook on the third Saturday of each month except for June, July and August; it’s just too hot. We get there about mid-morning on Saturday, we have the pots on the table by 12:30, we all gather in a big circle, we say grace, we invite everyone there to eat with us and have a good time

The Chaps say they can prepare nearly anything that can be cooked in a home oven in a Dutch oven.

I think my favorite was this rich chocolate cake that they made. It was delicious

Annie Hepp is a regional interpretive specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

They really enjoy the opportunity to be with one another. They get to cook for people, they get to share their passion with others and that passion and enjoyment is pretty infectious. Just being around them and seeing what they’re cooking up really inspires you to try it yourself.

Go to the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and click on “cooking” to find Dutch Oven demos in parks.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Student Docents at Texas State Parks

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Crystal Camacho, a student docent at FLHS, leads a group from Houston through the site. Image: Fort Leaton Facebook Page.

This is Passport to Texas

Manuela Catano is the Park Superintendent at the Fort Leaton  State Historic Site and manages a unique workforce – student  docents.

We work in conjunction with our local school district. We can hire them as young as 14 years old.

The program provides students a solid first job experience while they develop a range of marketable skills. Laura Jennings is a park ranger.

[Laura] They apply for the position, we score the application, we will interview them and for many of the docents, this will be their first interview. So that in itself is a learning experience.

[Omar] Before this I was a pretty much a shy person and it helped me open up and not be so shy when I meet new people.

[Crystal] It really pushed myself to get out of a comfort zone… to try and focus on my communication skills.

Omar Udave and Crystal Camacho are part of a team of eight student docents

[Omar] Well, a lot of questions are asking about the “carreton”, this big wagon we have back here; and I explain it to them.  

[Crystal] My favorite part of the tour is the dining room; the second owner, Edward Hall was actually shot in that room.

The student docent program is much more than a job. It’s an opportunity to learn while teaching others

It’s the best job I’ve ever had. We’re really thankful to have them

Volunteer at state parks. Find opportunities in the Volunteer section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Celebrate Mom’s Day with a Picnic in a Park

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

pack a picnic and head to a Texas State park for Mother’s Day.

This is Passport to Texas

This Mother’s Day, take mom on a picnic in a Texas state park. Cookbook author, Angela Shelf Medearis, says the key to a stress-free picnic is planning and simplicity.

So, start your picnic a few days ahead. If I was doing a picnic, I would have something like a really good roast chicken; just cut the pieces up and pack those in there.

I do a Carolina Cole Slaw; you toss it up, throw it in the refrigerator – it gets better day-by-day. So, if you want to do that ahead, you could.

Use a lot of fresh fruits for dessert.

The thing about a picnic that I love is that you can totally unplug and really focus on the people you should be paying the most attention to. You can get out in nature; we have some beautiful parks. Some beautiful places to go in Texas.

And, it gives you a chance to really focus on the most important things: your family, nature, the beauty of life… So, do a little planning ahead, and pick dishes that will be fine hot or cold, and you can’t go wrong for a great picnic.

Find recipes for your picnic on the TPW website.

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

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

Renew or Buy State Parks Pass Online

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Buy or renew your Texas State Parks Pass online.

This is Passport to Texas

Parkgoers can renew or purchase a Texas State Parks Pass online thanks to improvements in the online reservation system. Thomas Wilhelm is the marketing and branding manager for Texas State parks.

People have made it clear that they want the ability to either purchase their park pass online or renew their park pass on line for a long time. The advantage to purchasing in advance now, with the new reservation system, is your park pass discounts get applied when you make your reservation. So, you’re getting those benefits immediately. When you’re paying in advance for your campsite or your entrance fees, you’re getting those parks pass benefits upfront. You have the ability now to renew your park pass as well, which you can do, I think it’s up to five months in advance of your park pass expiring. One of the big advantages we’ll see with the new park pass system, and the new system with it…is that currently with the park pass you get four camping discounts for half off your second night. With the new reservation system, we’re eliminating that restriction on the number of discounts you get. So, with your park pass it’s unlimited half off your second night of camping when you stay two or more nights.

Purchase or renew your Texas State Parks Pass on the Texas parks and Wildlife Website.

We receive support for our show in part from Ram Trucks. Built to Serve.

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

New Park Reservation System: Save the Day

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Visitors to Enchanted Rock SP, relaxing because they “saved the Day”.

This is Passport to Texas

Ditch the “will I or won’t I get in” guessing game that often comes with visiting Texas’ most popular state parks. Now parkgoers can “Save the Day”. Thomas Wilhelm is the marketing and branding manager for Texas State parks.

[Thomas] So, what we’re calling “save the day” is essentially paying your entrance fees in advance. And by doing so, you’re guaranteeing access to a park. We have some parks that are super popular in that they fill up and we have to turn people away because of the limitation of the number of people allowed in a park. So with the Save the Day pass, you essentially pick a time slot that you are going to arrive at the park, pre-pay your entrance, and you’re guaranteed access to the park. So, you don’t have to worry about showing up and being turned away because the park is full.

[Cecilia] Well, you know, you might get there, but you might be behind a line of cars. Will there be another entrance for these people who have their pass?

[Thomas] We’ll have to work through those. Depending on the site, we may be able to create dual entrance lines. There will be a learning curve for both our employees and our customers. But, I think, in the long term, it will really speed up the process. Not just for guaranteed access, but also for getting you into the park faster and onto the fun.

Make your reservations on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. Tomorrow: Buying and managing your Texas State Park Pass online.

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