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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2017-04-03                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 3, 2017
TPWD Hosts Public Meetings to Announce Changes at Balmorhea State Park
BALMORHEA-- Balmorhea State Park will be hosting two public meetings to announce changes in operations at one of west Texas' most popular state parks.
Beginning this summer, entry into the park will be regulated to a maximum number of visitors to prevent overcrowding that has plagued the park in recent years. Measures will also be put into place to allow more visitors an additional opportunity to gain entry as visitation within the park fluctuates throughout the day.
"As a growing population of Texans discover their state parks, it's important that we take steps to preserve a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors," says Brent Leisure, director of Texas State Parks. "A visit to Balmorhea State Park has been a traditional journey for generations of Texans. The historic nature of the Civilian Conservation Corps development, which surrounds the refreshing waters of the San Solomon springs, is something we want all Texans to experience. Making operational adjustments will help us to achieve that goal."
Visitation at Balmorhea State Park continues to increase and changes to its operations have been carefully considered to assist in the preservation of the delicate resources at the park - including some threatened and endangered species - as well as the quality of experience that park visitors will have.
Two public meetings have been scheduled to discuss with the regional community how the operational changes at the park will result in safer and more enjoyable experiences for park visitors. The first meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, April 10, in the Dick and Amelia Conference Room of the Electronic Technology Building at Odessa College and at the same time Tuesday, April 11, at the Balmorhea Community Center.
"Increased use of the park has resulted in traffic jams at the park entrance, excessive litter and impacts to park resources," says Carolyn Rose, superintendent at Balmorhea State Park. "We have had issues with people parking on the side of the highway, which has led to traffic issues for local residents and endangers visitors. Recent numbers of users are far beyond what the park was envisioned to serve, resulting in long lines to use the bathhouses and straining park infrastructure."
Construction of park improvements at Balmorhea is scheduled to begin in September 2017. These projects will help the park better accommodate visitors. Updates includes the restoration of the San Solomon Springs Courts and enhanced campsites. Details about these upcoming projects will be discussed at the public meetings.
For more information about the park, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 3, 2017
April is State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.
AUSTIN -- For the sixth year in a row, Whole Earth Provision Co. will support Texas State Parks throughout the month of April during their "April is Texas State Parks Month" fund drive at all eight locations across the state. The Texas-based travel, adventure and nature store will give all funds gathered during the effort to help fund state parks' day-to-day operational expenses, including enhanced visitor programs, park trail maps and facilities maintenance.
"We are blessed in Texas with an excellent state park system that provides an unrivaled range of outdoor adventures," says Jack Jones, Whole Earth Provision Co. founder and lifelong Texas state park advocate. "These magical places belong to the citizens of Texas and are available for all of us to visit and enjoy."
Throughout April, customers at the eight Whole Earth Provision Co. locations in Austin, Dallas, Southlake, Houston and San Antonio will have the option to donate to Texas State Parks at check-out counters. For every $20 or more donated, Whole Earth will give customers a $5 state park gift card, redeemable for park entrance fees and merchandise at state park stores. If the customer donates $50 or more, they will receive a limited edition Whole Earth branded multifunctional BUFF® headpiece and a Texas State Parks gift card.
In addition, state park rangers will be handing out Texas State Park Guides at all eight locations from 2-4 p.m. on April 9. They will also offer information about the various activities people can enjoy in state parks, including swimming, hiking, fishing, nature walks, paddling, stargazing, and mountain biking.
Most urbanites are closer to a state park than they might imagine. There are 12 state parks within an hour's drive of Austin, nine within an hour's drive of San Antonio, eight within a 60-minute drive of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, 11 within 90 minutes of Southlake and seven parks an hour or less drive from Houston. Mild weather and blooming wildflowers make spring the ideal time to visit any one of these parks.
"We depend on public-private partnerships with businesses such as Whole Earth Provision Co. to provide additional and much-needed funding to operate our state parks," says Texas State Parks Director, Brent Leisure. "The month-long promotion at one of the state's premier outdoor retailers helps us create a park experience that Texans expect and deserve."
In the last five years, Whole Earth Provision Company has donated close to $150,000 to Texas State Parks. These funds are a direct result of donations received during Texas State Parks Month, as well as from ticket sales from the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which Whole Earth has sponsored for the past decade.
Texas State Parks provide an affordable and healthy way to spend time with family and friends. Children 12 and younger get in free. For more information about visiting Texas State Parks, visit: http://www.texasstateparks.org.
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