|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-03-29                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
March 29, 2006
First Inland Paddling Trail Opens in Luling
Luling, Texas -- A long-forgotten landmark, a peaceful stretch of river and a 25-acre parcel of highway right-of-way were celebrated today as city and state officials officially opened the Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail.
The six-mile route on the San Marcos River between U.S. Hwy 90 and the historic Zedler Mill in Luling is the state's first inland paddling trail and offers canoeists and kayakers a safe, well-mapped route with convenient access and parking.
It may also bring an economic boost to this small town just off IH-10 east of San Antonio and south of Austin. To increase local tourism appeal, Luling residents, the city government and the local economic development corporation have come together to restore and redevelop the historic Zedler Mill (built in 1874) near the city's existing nine-hole golf course.
"We organized a town meeting inviting anybody who wanted to know what was happening at the mill or wanted to be part of it to come out," said Randy Engelke, City of Luling parks and recreation director. About 100 people showed for that first meeting and soon there was consensus on what Luling's waterfront would one day look like.
"What came to the top was a museum -- whether a working museum or a static display. A restaurant was high on the list," Engelke said. "An amphitheater and open-air pavilion were two of the next top ideas. We're planning on building a stage and a boat dock right on the river. The boat dock can be used for portage around the mill, or to stop and eat."
"This paddling trail is a model public-private partnership we're looking to replicate around the state," said Philip Montgomery, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner from Dallas, who has taken a personal interest in the concept of paddling trails in Texas. "Having a unique piece of Texas history in the Zedler Mill matched with the natural resources of the San Marcos River gives this first river paddling trail an outstanding mix of tourism features."
Randy Worden, executive manager of business development and resource management for the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, said promoting economic development in the communities within its boundaries is part of the GBRA mission.
The river authority put up some of the money for the purchase of the mill property and has assisted the city in obtaining grants.
"It's been one of our dreams to establish a series of paddling trails along both the Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers for some time. This project opened the door, and with Parks and Wildlife's desire to have some inland trails, it's just the most opportune time," Worden said.
Local companies will provide canoe and kayak rentals and shuttle services between the paddling trail take-out at the Zedler Mill and the put-in at a new city park on U.S. Hwy. 90 six miles upstream. The city will maintain the put-in and take-out locations (parking is free), and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is providing interpretive materials, signs and promotion of the paddling trail.
"The impetus behind this was just a growing interest in canoeing and kayaking," said Melissa Parker, a TPWD river conservation coordinator. "People wanted to know, 'where can we go? Where can we take the family?'"
Parker admitted that -- with more than 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers -- it's not hard to find a place to paddle in Texas.
"The thing about this is the community is behind it and there will be some amenities to come at the site," she said. "You'll know what to expect. The traps have been run and you're welcome here."
Bob Spain, a TPWD coastal conservation coordinator and veteran of the Texas Water Safari (the annual endurance paddling race uses this stretch of the San Marcos for part of its route), said one of the greatest benefits of having a designated paddling trail is that it introduces people to Texas' rivers and riparian habitats.
"From our perspective, one of the things we think paddling trails do is encourage people to get out there and taste the resource," Spain said. "Most people don't realize how pretty these streams are. It's just one more way to get people out here to enjoy the resource."
TPWD is seeking community partners who are interested in establishing new paddling trails. Additional information and an application is available at Additional information and an application is available on the department Web site.
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
March 29, 2006
Texas State Railroad To Resume Runs From Palestine
PALESTINE, Texas -- The Texas State Railroad State Park historic steam train will resume runs departing from the Palestine depot on or before April 15. Runs originating from Palestine had been discontinued earlier this year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as part of budget actions at about 50 state parks to keep the statewide park system operating.
"This is good news for the people of East Texas and all those who love the Texas State Railroad," said Robert Cook, TPWD executive director. "We appreciate the level of community interest and support for the continued operation of the railroad. We will continue to discuss options with community leaders and state elected officials regarding the railroad's long-term future. For now, we encourage folks to come ride the train!"
Today's announcement means passengers may once again board the historic trains at either Rusk or Palestine. Both ends of the line have Victorian-style train stations. A one-way trip takes an hour and a half to reach the opposite station. Once visitors have arrived, they have an hour and a half to enjoy lunch, browse through the depot's train store or take a short nature hike before they re-board for the return trip. All told, the 50-mile round-trip excursions take four and a half hours.
Train excursion fares for regular seating are $17 round trip or $12 one way for adults and $11 round trip and $8 one way for children ages 3-to-12. Climate controlled seating is $24 round trip and $17 one way for adults and $16 round trip and $13 one way for children. Children ride free with a paying adult June through September as part of the Kids Ride Free! promotion TPWD started two years ago as a way to boost ridership and revenue. To make train reservations, phone toll-free (800) 442-8951 or locally call (903) 683-2561.
State Park camping and picnicking facilities are adjacent to both depots. The Rusk state park site offers shaded picnic tables, a scenic 15-acre lake, group picnic pavilions and full-hookup camping. The Palestine state park site has shaded picnic tables and water-only camping sites.
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