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Plan Summer Outings with New Guide to Texas State Parks
AUSTIN, Texas — Texans reeling from soaring gasoline prices might want to consider vacationing this summer a little closer to home to save time and money by visiting one of more than 90 Texas state parks and historic sites.
Available just in time to plan a getaway to the great outdoors is the fifth edition of the free Texas State Park Guide published by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Armchair travelers, too, will enjoy looking through this handy, colorful 112-page booklet to discover how Texas state parks are "getting better all the time."
As a result of additional legislative funding for state parks in 2008-2009, park visitors will be noticing improvements to aging facilities, reopening of campgrounds, and in some cases, increased interpretive programming and security thanks to the hiring of more than 200 new park staff.
As TPWD’s executive director, Carter Smith, points out in the guide’s introduction, the increased legislative funding for state parks brings added responsibility to "steward those resources well ... so we can keep that momentum going and continue to have a bright future for our parks."
The new guide shines a light on a number of recreational parks and historic sites within an hour’s drive of the state’s major metro areas of Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The listing for Dallas/Fort Worth, for example, describes eight state parks within a short drive, where visitors can spend a day or days hiking, biking, fishing or camping under the stars.
A state map occupies the centerfold of the new guide and an information-packed park directory is organized into seven sections corresponding to the states seven travel regions. Each section has a regional map that locates parks and historic sites within that region of Texas. The guide’s Symbol Legend provides a ready reference to the type of facilities and amenities to be found at each of the 93 sites.
New to this year’s park guide is a section titled "Plan It Outdoors, Online!" that helps direct readers to TPWD’s informative Web site that provides a plethora of information about new places to visit, how to make reservations, download park maps and learn more about a host of outdoor learning opportunities, such as the new "Texas Outdoor Family" program, archery skills, boater education and how to become a Master Naturalist. You can even "Shop The Outdoors" online for conservation license plates, wildlife posters, maps and other featured products.
The park guides are available at any state park or state natural area, as well as TPWD law enforcement offices, Sea Center Texas, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Texas Department of Transportation travel information centers, convention and visitors bureaus and chambers of commerce throughout Texas. You also can print your own guide from the TPWD Web site. In addition, while supplies last, you can go online and request that a guide be mailed to you by visiting: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/parkguide/.
Funds to underwrite the publishing of the Texas State Park Guide were provided by Toyota, with additional support from advertisers. This is the fifth year the automaker has been an underwriting sponsor to help make the guide available at no cost to the public.
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