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‘Texas State Parks Pass’ Popularity Grows As It Enters Second Year
AUSTIN, Texas— Campers, anglers, cyclists, hikers and other state park users are snapping up the new $60 Texas State Parks Pass in growing numbers as the busy spring and early summer seasons beckon folks to the great outdoors.
Launched Jan. 1, 2004, the parks pass’s first-year sales reached almost 60,000, generating $3.7 million in revenues for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s state park operations.
The Texas State Parks Pass replaced the old Texas Conservation Passport window decal with the new credit card-style parks pass that provides greater access to state parks and historic sites, as well as camping and park store merchandise discounts and other benefits. More importantly, the pass provides free entry to all 120 state parks and historic sites for members and their guests traveling with them in their vehicle. With park entries ranging from $2-5 a person, frequent park users are finding the parks pass a bargain. Pass monies collected by the state parks go to fund park maintenance that helps keep them safe and ensure that the visitor has a quality experience.
Mel Gideon of Doss didn’t hesitate to purchase the new park pass when it became available.
“It’s certainly economical. We have a state park that we frequent that’s close by,” Gideon said. “We love to take our family to just have a picnic or hike in. We go there often so it pays to have the pass, because you used to have to pay a per-person fee to go in. Another reason I bought the pass is because it helps support our state park system.”
The revamped annual pass is good for a year from the time of purchase. Families who often visit state parks and arrive at different times or in more than one vehicle may opt to make a same-day purchase of a two-card pass package for $75.
The Texas State Parks Pass was designed to be easier to use and to provide greater value to park users than the previous annual parks pass. Some of the Texas State Parks Pass’ “extra perks” include:
- Discounts for camping, state park store merchandise, recreational equipment rentals and more
- The Getaway Planner, a quarterly e-newsletter customized to the cardholder’s areas of interest, such as mountain biking, hiking and Texas history, and quarterly updates about special member discounts
- A 73 percent discount off the cover prices of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine
- A free copy of the Texas State Park Guide
- A bumper sticker that reads: “Our parks won’t be the same without you. Texas State Park Member.”
The new parks pass replaced the gold Texas Conservation Passport, the sales of which were discontinued on Dec. 31, 2003. The 48,000 TCP holders were able to use their old card through Dec. 31, 2004 and were eligible to receive a $10 discount off the purchase of their first Texas State Parks Pass.
According to Texas State Parks Director Walt Dabney, the new parks pass not only represents a great value for the money but also addresses concerns expressed by TCP-holders, supports parks directly and builds customer loyalty. He noted that the new pass, unlike the TCP, allows pass members and their guests not only to get into historic sites for free, but also allows them a self-guided tour of the sites’ featured attractions at no cost. “The new Texas State Parks Pass is more user-friendly and a better all-around value for state park users,” Dabney said.
The Texas State Parks Pass can be purchased at all 120 Texas state parks and historic sites and through TPWD’s Customer Contact Center at (512) 389-8900.
Pass purchasers initially will receive a temporary card and plastic mirror hanger that will be replaced within 30-45 days by a plastic card bearing the purchaser’s name. Customized cards will be mailed in a special package that includes discount coupons for camping, a bumper sticker and information on how to sign up for the Getaway Planner e-newsletter.
On the Net:
- For more information, or call (800) 792-1112 or visit the TPWD Web site: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/parkpass/
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