|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2017-04-18                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 18, 2017
Government Canyon SNA Opens New Wheelchair Accessible Nature Trail
SAN ANTONIO - A new wheelchair accessible nature trail will be unveiled at Government Canyon State Natural Area at a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 22. The 1.25-mile Discovery Trail and will connect with the ADA accessible nature playscape that was opened last month.
"The interpretive Discovery Trail was constructed with accessibility and durability in mind," says Chris Holm, superintendent at Government Canyon State Natural Area. "With minimal elevation change and a stabilized decomposed granite surface, the new nature trail will better meet the needs of our diverse visitor base. Currently when it rains, existing trails can become muddy and has made us close our 40-mile trail system. This all-weather interpretive trail will provide our visitors with a new option for outdoor recreation when the rest of the trail system is closed."
The interpretive nature trail project was funded by the Friends of Government Canyon through grants and donations. The initial funding for the Discovery Trail was provided by a generous grant from ImpactSA and the friends group was able to raise additional funds through private donations and a second grant from the local REI-San Antonio store.
The new trail was built over a period of one and a half years with labor from the all-volunteer Government Canyon SNA Trail Patrol and from the Texas Trails Team - a Texas State Parks and American Youthworks partnership that provides trail construction efforts throughout the entire state of Texas.
"An all-weather, accessible hiking trail was envisioned for Government Canyon SNA before it ever opened to the public back in 2005 but due to limited funding, it was never built," says Holm. "We are excited that this great partnership with our friends group, ImpactSA and REI has led to another wonderful addition to the natural area."
Government Canyon SNA is open weekly Friday - Monday, with additional open days during holidays.
For more information about the natural area, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 18, 2017
Annual Spring Outdoor Celebration Brings the Outdoors to Mont Belvieu
MONT BELVIEU - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is inviting the public to take part in the free 2nd Annual Spring Outdoor Celebration from noon to 5 p.m. at the Mont Belvieu City Park east of Houston on April 22nd. This celebration of the outdoors offers a chance for kids and families to participate in and learn more about fun activities in the natural environment.
"The Spring Outdoor Celebration is a great way for our community to learn how to get involved in outdoor recreation," said Texas game warden Patricia Vannoy. "This is a great opportunity for families and people of all ages to get together and take part in new hands-on activities."
Activities at the family-friendly event include archery, kayaking, and fishing. Kids and families can try their hand at shooting an air rifle, climbing a rock wall and navigating an obstacle course. Visitors will also be able to get a close look at the Texas game warden helicopter.
Two raptor shows, featuring several different birds of prey, including owls, hawks and falcons, will be held throughout the day and will be an exciting opportunity for attendees to learn more about these masters of the sky. Many of the birds will then take flight to demonstrate how they spot and catch prey.
Admission to the event is free and welcome to people of all ages. Door prizes will be given out at the event and the first 750 participants will also receive a free gift. For more event information, visit the event Facebook page.
The celebration is presented by City of Mont Belvieu Parks and Recreation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Platinum Event Sponsors include Houston Pilots, Gene's Powersports Country, Enterprise Products, and Targa Resources.

[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 18, 2017
Davis Mountains State Park Hosts Third Annual Mile High Chili Cook-Off April 22
FORT DAVIS - Davis Mountains State Park, in cooperation with the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), is bringing good food, fun and delicious competition back to the mountains this spring with the Third Annual Mile High Chili Cook Off from noon - 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22.
Contests during the cook off include Best Chili, Best Beans, Best Salsa, and Best in Show. Prizes will be awarded for 1st- 3rd place Chili, 1st place salsa, 1st place beans and 1st place Best in Show.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Last Call Band at noon and chili tasting begins at approximately 1 p.m.
All rules for this competition are consistent with CASI's standard cook-off rules.
With a $4 per person donation, park visitors can sample each of the competitors' recipes by obtaining a "Throw Down Pack." The pack includes a cup, spoon, bottle of water and a napkin. All donations go directly to benefit the park and its visitors.
Park entrance fee is waived for all visitors during the cook-off. For more information contact Jacob Barton at jacob.barton@tpwd.texas.gov.