|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-03-07                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
March 7, 2005
New Guide Makes Visiting Texas State Parks a Snap
AUSTIN, Texas -- An expanded version of the Texas State Park Guide is now available that provides detailed information about more than 120 of the state's natural and cultural treasures - from well-known landmarks such as Palo Duro Canyon to lesser-known jewels like Kickapoo Cavern.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's handsomely illustrated, 112-page guide is free and can be found at state historic sites, state parks and other TPWD sites, as well as other select outlets throughout Texas. The guide to more than 600,000 acres of public land also is available as a downloadable PDF file on the TPWD Web site. The electronic version of the guide is available in both English and Spanish. *
"We've improved the guide to make it as user-friendly as possible so folks can plan their next adventure more effectively," said Walt Dabney, state parks director. "With the new park guide and annual Texas State Parks Pass, our customers now possess the keys to enjoy the state's many natural and cultural wonders more efficiently and more economically."
A centerfold map, one of the new additions to the revised guide, helps readers locate their favorite park or historic site at a glance. More and better maps are one significant improvement to the original Texas State Park Guide published in late 2003. Also, readers can flip to the back-of-the-book to the Facilities & Activities Index grid to scan for information about such things as accommodations, ADA accessibility and limited access.
A more detailed Table of Contents makes it easier for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs to find the best places in the Texas state park system to hold a family reunion, learn more about the state's unique heritage and find the perfect place to camp, fish, hike or just relax under a shade tree.
The "Spotlight on Texas" chapters, for example, shines a light on the best ways to: "Experience Texas" through various park tours and programs; "Remember Texas" by discovering the landmarks that illuminate Texas history; "View Texas" amid the state's top spots for enjoying wildflowers, bats, birds, butterflies and other critters; and "Viva Texas," by exploring the state's rich Hispanic heritage.
The new guide makes it easier than ever to focus upon the best state parks in which to hike, bike, swim, camp, fish and horseback ride. Did you know, for example, that at Huntsville and Lake Livingston state parks in East Texas, you can enjoy a hearty breakfast in the park before saddling up or unwind from a long day's ride with a steak dinner? The "Saddle Up" feature, for example, points out parks catering to equestrians with miles of horseback riding trails, horse-friendly campgrounds and other facilities.
The booklet's State Park Directory, which is organized by the state's seven tourism regions, include vignettes about each park and historic site, as well as an address and telephone number. Symbols with each listing provide visual cues about the various amenities and activities at a particular site.
The Texas State Park Guide also spells out the different types of state park user fees and special park passes, as well as details about how to reserve campsites, group shelters and other facilities.
The publishing of 500,000 of the Texas State Park Guide was made possible through the sponsorship of Toyota and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation. This is the second year the automaker has provided funding to help make the guide available free to the public. Toyota is also a major sponsor of Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo and the Texas Conservation Banquet, the Conservation License Plate program, state parks maps and on-site interpretive brochures and hunting and fishing license pocket holders.
The park guide can be picked up not only at state parks and historic sites, but also at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and at the state's 12 Travel Information Centers.
* Correction, March 9, 2005: The originally published paragraph has been edited for clarity. (Return to corrected item.)
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KD]
March 7, 2005
Wildlife Forensic Lab Helps Nab Poachers
SAN MARCOS, Texas - It seemed like a good day for hunting: crystal blue sky, a cold front had just come through. When Game Warden Michael McCall found a deer feeder about 100 yards into the undeveloped property on Eagle Mountain Lake, he realized it might be a good day to catch poachers as well.
"I hid my boat on the north side of a slough in kind of a cove area and waited," McCall said. "About 15 minutes later, I heard a shot from a high-powered rifle."
As the hunters attempted a water escape, McCall gave chase. After about 10 miles and 30 minutes, the hunters dumped the boat and drove away in a truck with the deer they had killed.
The poachers and their prize escaped for the moment, but they left something very important behind: blood. McCall collected a sample of blood from the abandoned boat and submitted it to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's wildlife forensic lab.
The lab, located in San Marcos at the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery, serves as one of only a handful of labs nationwide that focuses upon wildlife forensics, and Beverly Villarreal is the lab's only forensic specialist.
Within the next few months, the TPWD lab is expected to become only the second accredited wildlife crime lab in the nation, the first being the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Forensics Laboratory. Accreditation is determined by an inspection of the lab by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
"There are certain requirements as far as how you handle the evidence. It's mostly having procedures in place and following those procedures," Villarreal said.
In the Eagle Mountain Lake Case, McCall had tracked down his suspect using their boat's TX number. The suspects confessed to killing a doe, however according to a gender analysis conducted by Villarreal on the blood from collected from the boat, the deer was a male.
Villarreal has worked on more than 600 cases in her 15 years working in the lab. She has helped many game wardens in their efforts to prosecute poachers.
The majority of cases that require forensic analysis involve deer poaching. Blood may be found in a suspected-poacher's vehicle, and if they claim that it's rabbit or hog, lab testing can determine the truth.
"If a game warden comes in and says, 'I think this is white-tailed deer' I use this," Villarreal said, pointing to a machine.
Despite what the CBS show "CSI" may demonstrate, most of the work done in the real forensic lab takes a while.
"I was watching one of those episodes, and the lady put something in a machine, and it just spit out a paper with the results immediately," Villarreal said. "I couldn't help laughing."
Villarreal, who earned a bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Texas in Austin, began her forensics career as a part-time lab technician while working on her master's at Texas State University.
With her busy season (hunting season) coming to an end, Villarreal is shifting her focus to the approaching deadline for lab accreditation, a Texas legislative requirement.
And as for McCall's poachers, "I think they thought it would be a lesser fine to admit to killing a doe and they wanted to keep the head and antlers off the buck they killed," McCall said.
Once the suspects were confronted with the lab report showing that the deer was male, they confessed to the truth and handed over the antlers. Villarreal had made a DNA match between the antlers and the blood from the suspect's boat.
With the help of the forensic evidence, McCall's case was the first felony poaching case prosecuted in Tarrant County, and it surely won't be the last.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
March 7, 2005
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on more than 100 Texas stations. Airing March 7-11, gardening with non-native plants is making the native wildlife restless. We'll tell you about a man who has spent almost his entire life tracking a feline predator. And do butterflies have a sweet tooth? We won't candy-coat the answer. Plus, it's all-aboard once again at the Texas State Railroad.
For more information, visit the Web.
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation.
For more information, go to the Web.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online.
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://tpwd.texas.gov/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
March 7, 2005
TPWD Names New Law Enforcement Director
AUSTIN, Texas - Pete Flores, a 20-year veteran game warden who has worked all over the state, has been selected to lead Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's state game warden force of approximately 480 officers in the field.
Col. Flores was selected after a month-long search and this year marks his 20-year anniversary as a game warden. Flores' broad range of experience includes service as a field warden in Chambers and Brazos Counties, a District Captain in Beaumont and San Antonio, a Major in San Angelo and most recently, the division's Lt. Col, or Deputy Division Director.
"Texans can expect the continuing of community-oriented conservation law enforcement. May Texans always say, 'see that Officer in the green truck, that's my Game Warden," Flores said.
Flores' experience in working across the state makes him very attuned to what is needed in each area. From the Gulf Coast to the Trans-Pecos of West Texas to Central Texas, he's been there and done the jobs in the field.
Deputy Executive Director for Operations, Scott Boruff, said Flores is the right person for the job.
"I am very impressed with his integrity and commitment to the mission of the department, as well as his wealth of experience," he said. "We are honored and pleased that he will be our new Colonel and look forward to working with him," Boruff said.
Flores, originally from Laredo, graduated from Texas A&M University and assumes his new post immediately.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
March 7, 2005
Budweiser ShareLunkers Reach Dozen Mark
ATHENS, Texas -- Anglers contributed two lunker largemouth bass to the Budweiser ShareLunker program over the weekend, bringing the number of fish entered into the program this season to 12.
Mark LeBlanc of Orange caught a 13.59-pound bass from Sam Rayburn Reservoir about 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Roger Frazier, Jr., of The Colony took a 13.9-pounder from Ray Roberts Lake the next day.
Le Blanc was fishing in 5 feet of water with a Senko plastic bait in a watermelon red/green flake pattern. His fish measured 25.5 inches long and 21 inches around.
Frazier's fish hit a fluke in two feet of water in the north end of Ray Roberts. The fish was 25.5 inches long and 20.75 in girth. Both fish showed light to moderate hemorrhaging of the fins and appeared to have spawned.
The Le Blanc fish was the first ShareLunker caught from Sam Rayburn since 2002 and only the third since 1998. That lake has contributed a total of 21 fish to the Budweiser ShareLunker program. Frazier's fish was the first ShareLunker taken from Ray Roberts since 2000 and only the fourth in that lake's history.