Wet and Wonderful Paddling Trails

November 7th, 2019
Paddling Lady Bird Lake in Austin

The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail is approximately 11 miles long and features multiple public access sites and recreational opportunities. The Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail provides an excellent venue for the novice and experienced paddler alike.

This is Passport to Texas

Nature tourism fostered the development of many trails statewide. On land and water.

Parks and Wildlife has the Texas paddling trails program we kicked off in 2006 with our first inland trail.

Shelly Plante is the Nature Tourism Manager at Texas Parks and Wildlife

Here we are now in 2019 and we have 76 trails throughout the state of Texas. We have coastal trails, inland trails. Some are on rivers. Some are on ponds or bijous. Some are on bays. We give information about the local canoe and kayak rentals or who provide a shuttle if you have your own. So, we try to make it as easy as possible to get out on the water and enjoy nature from a different perspective.

Canoeing and kayaking offer distinct benefits over traditional hike or bike trails.

Paddling on a trail just gives you a different view of nature. You’re quieter, you’re able to sneak up on the animals a little bit so they don’t fly off as much or run away and you can see things in their natural habitat.

The nature tourism movement has made a positive impact on both rural and urban communities throughout the state

Paddling trails aren’t just at state parks. We have them all over. They require community partners so, they’re in stretches of river outside small towns like Seguin or lulling. Austin has one. San Antonio has one called the Mission Reach and it goes right through the cultural district around the missions.

Find Texas paddling trails on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Variety Defines Nature Tourism

November 6th, 2019
Preparing for a star party, image Chris Oswalt, TPWD

Preparing for a star party, image Chris Oswalt, TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

The term “nature tourism” has evolved to include a diverse range of outdoor activities. Advancements in new tools and technologies enhance the outdoor experience.

Nature tourism is any kind of tourism that allows people to connect with nature and provide economic impact to the local economies of rural communities especially but it can be big cities as well and this would include things as varied as camping, wildlife photography, wildlife viewing and birding, stargazing, any number of things that are a way to connect to nature.

Shelly Plante is the Nature Tourism Manager at Texas Parks and Wildlife

The things I think are possibly new to nature tourism beyond birding which everyone is fairly familiar with would include wildlife photography and butterflying. I think both of those have become really big. One thing with butterflying is, butterflies stay still, unlike birds. They do flit around but they stay in one area. You can have your field guide right in front of you.

In addition, access to smart phones and apps like iNaturalist allow explorers to snap photos and get immediate help identifying their observations.

Butterflying is easier than birding in many ways and it’s a great introduction to noticing the outside world.

Start planning your next outdoor adventure with the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Texas: Blazing Trails in Nature Tourism

November 5th, 2019
Hawk Tower Bird Watching.

Hawk Tower Bird Watching.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife brought the nature tourism movement to Texas in the 1990’s.

Madge Lindsay worked with a couple of other people and developed this idea of a birding trail.

Shelly Plante is the Nature Tourism Manager.

No one had ever linked together sites that were drivable distances from one another to say, here’s a marketing platform of ways that people can come to your area and enjoy nature. Wouldn’t it be great if we worked with local communities on this concept of nature tourism and developing the sites they already have and telling people about these wonderful birding sites because right now bird watchers know that they exist but people that just like nature may not realize it.

Local knowledge wasn’t always reliably shared.

So, let’s put them together in one big map and they can go from site to site to site and see a variety of habitat a variety of birds and have enhancements there that make it easy for them like boardwalks to viewing blinds, that sort of thing. So, there was a grant and they got it and the great Texas coastal birding trail was born out of that. We were the first state to do a birding trail.

More than 40 states now have birding trails.

It was really great timing and really great people at the right place at the right time made this amazing thing that’s been a boon for rural communities all over Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti…reminding you that life’s better outside.

Centennial Artist Clemente Guzman

October 31st, 2019
Centennial Artist, Clemente Guzman

Centennial Artist, Clemente Guzman

This is Passport to Texas

I love nature. I love being outside.

Artist Clemente Guzman has a genuine affection for the outdoors. He spent twenty-nine and a half years at Texas Parks and Wildlife depicting the natural beauty of the state.

I create art because it inspires me, it moves me, and being out in nature does that to me. It has that magic. You know when you have it, because you can’t sleep. You know you get up. It’s like falling in love. You know, you’re just thinking of that all the time.

Now Clemente has come out of retirement for a higher calling. He’s one of thirty-one centennial artists chosen to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of Texas State Parks. Government Canyon State Park is his first assignment.

I went out there to Government Canyon and I did some of the trails, especially one of them that goes to the dinosaur tracks. And I took some pictures and got my mind thinking. I found this lizard that I though it would be a great idea to put him inside of a dinosaur track. It just fit beautifully, the angle of the lizard and the footprint. I’m going to paint that for Government Canyon.

The centennial artists will cover sixty-two parks in all, and their work will be featured in a printed book to be published in the centennial year 2023.

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

Centennial Artists and Texas State Parks

October 30th, 2019
Texas State Parks.

Texas State Parks.

This is Passport to Texas

The year 2023 is the centennial anniversary of Texas State Parks, and thirty-one Texas artists have been chosen to create illustrations for a printed book about the State Park System.

The whole history of conservation in the United States, particularly in the national parks, it was aided and abetted by artists.

Former Texas Parks and Wildlife executive director Andy Sansom is project organizer and co-author of the centennial book.

They are all Texas artists. Each one of them will paint two paintings. There will be sixty-two parks in the book. And then the text will be written by me and my colleague Bill Reaves. And Bill will write mainly about the artists, and then my portion of the book will be about the State Park System. ‘Be a little bit of history, a little bit of personal reflection on my own experiences, a little bit about contemporary issues facing state parks, and celebration of the hundredth anniversary.

The paintings will be offered for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to benefit the State Park System.

The book is scheduled to come out during the centennial year, along with an initial public exhibition of the paintings at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

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