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West Texas Community Input Sought for Texas Mountain Trail Project
Locals To Submit Wildlife and Birding Site Nominations for Travel Map
Van Horn — The Texas Mountain Trail region is seeking wildlife viewing and birding locations to include in new Far West Texas wildlife trail map. The map is a partnership between the Van Horn-based non-profit heritage tourism organization; the Texas Pecos Trail; and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Site nominations are due March 1.
Nominated sites must be in the Texas Mountain Trail region, which includes the six westernmost counties of the state (Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis or Presidio counties), or in the western portion of the Texas Pecos Trail region (Andrews, Crane, Ector, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, Winkler counties) to be eligible.
Sites must offer a rich birding or wildlife viewing opportunity characteristic of Far West Texas. Other criteria include: unrestricted public access or access by landowner-permission and prior arrangement, local sponsors to be responsible for upkeep, and each location should be within an hour’s drive of another potential viewing site. Private lands will not be included without the expressed, written permission of the landowner. The nomination form with complete instructions and site selection criteria is on the Texas Mountain Trail Web site. Site nomination forms need to completed by March 1.
The Far West Texas map will complete the state’s suite of wildlife/birding trail maps. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, "Texas was the first state in the nation to create birding and wildlife viewing trails, an idea that resulted in similar projects throughout North America. These trails provide economic incentives for landowners and communities to conserve habitats while providing recreational opportunities for the traveling public. The wildlife trails of Texas promote sustainable economic development and build public support for conservation of wildlife and habitats."
Texas is recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in nature tourism. In 2000, TPWD completed the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, which is popular with both visiting birders and local naturalists and has spawned similar projects in other states. To date, the department and partners have distributed nearly 400,000 birding trail maps. Following the coastal trail’s success, TPWD released the Heart of Texas, Panhandle Plains and Prairies and Pineywoods trail maps to make wildlife viewing and nature tourism even easier throughout the state. The wildlife trails are popular in part because they cater to the specific needs and interests of nature tourists, providing local residents and visitors all the information needed to explore the back roads of Texas.
The Texas Mountain Trail region is an independent 501 c 3 non-profit organization, promoting and marketing heritage tourism assets and Far West Texas participating in the Texas Heritage Trails program managed by the Texas Historical Commission. It serves every community in the six westernmost counties in the state.
Sponsors are being sought to defray the costs of trail map production, printing and distribution. Questions about the wildlife/birding map for Far West Texas can be directed to: Beth Nobles, Texas Mountain Trail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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