|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-06-12                                    |
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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]
June 12, 2006
Goliad State Park Celebrates Major Restoration
GOLIAD, Texas -- On June 16, Goliad State Park and Mission Espíritu Santo State Historic Site will celebrate the completion of more than two years of painstaking work to make much-needed repairs to the 1700s Spanish mission grounds and buildings.
The approximately $850,000 Goliad repair project was funded through Proposition 8, a bond package approved by Texas voters in 2001 that provided $101 million over 10 years to improve or repair Texas Parks and Wildlife Department state parks, wildlife management areas, fish hatcheries and other facilities.
The multi-year Goliad restoration project was needed to stem the tide of physical deterioration that was threatening to undermine its continued viability as a place where Texans can reconnect with the past. In recent years, leaky roofs and flooding on the grounds have seriously threatened park structures.
A diverse team of artists, architects, historians, and craftsmen skilled in historic restoration collaborated to identify problem areas and set a course of action. The project was managed by Laura David with the TPWD Infrastructure Division. The roofing and electrical work was awarded to Kellogg, Brown and Root under a "job order contract," a unique arrangement that improved quality control and kept costs down. A TPWD "Force Account" construction crew of historically trained craftsmen led by Mark Lenoch did the painstaking job of plastering, painting, wood repairs, stonework and site improvements.
Workers put in new roofs and electrical wiring for all the mission buildings. They patched exterior plaster and repainted the chapel and granary buildings. They restored the chapel interior, including repainting frescos and decorative elements, with work overseen by Nola Davis, the same TPWD artist who created them 28 years ago.
As part of the restoration, the grounds were excavated and French drains were installed to prevent flooding using Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate labor. Ramps and other improvements were also added to make the entire park wheelchair-accessible.
"Basically if you were here last year and you came this year, you'd see a totally new face; it's been put back to what it should be," said Mary Livingston, Goliad State Park complex historic sites manager. "It is absolutely amazing. Between Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and the contractors that were hired the quality of work was phenomenal."
At 11 a.m. on Friday, June 16, state and local officials, including Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez-Toureilles, will take part in a celebration hosted by the Amigos of Goliad State Park to mark completion of the restoration effort. Afterward, park employees will lead tours to showcase the restoration process.
Goliad State Park actually includes several historic sites in different locations-the central mission and state park complex closer to Goliad, the ruins of Mission Rosario, the Fannin Battleground and Zaragoza Birthplace south of town in the community of La Bahia-all of which were improved as part of the project. This includes a restored centennial pavilion to mark the Battle of Coleto Creek at the Fannin Battleground and the entire floor replaced in the small museum at the Zaragoza Birthplace.
Mission Espíritu Santo is similar to other Spanish missions in Texas, such as the one known as the Alamo in San Antonio. A unique feature is that Goliad is considered by many to be the birthplace of cattle ranching. In its heyday, the mission ran 40,000 head of cattle on about a million acres. It was also the last mission to close its doors in what we know as present day Texas.
Espíritu Santo was originally located at Matagorda Bay in 1722. This site was abandoned and the mission was rebuilt near what is now Victoria until 1749, when it was moved permanently to Goliad. By 1830, it was falling into decrepit disrepair. Some 100 years later, help arrived in the form of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the 1930s, after extensive research, the CCC built reconstructions of the chapel, granary, and workshop placed on the original foundations. One room off the side of the granary dates to the 1700s, where visitors can see the original architecture.
Besides historic interpretation, the park has recreational facilities and is popular for camping, fishing and picnicking. Amenities include 20 water/electric pull through sites for recreational vehicles, five screened shelters, a group camping area with water/electric sites, and water/electric pads for tent camping.
The park has miles of San Antonio River frontage and visitors can fish from the shoreline. There is a picnicking area plus 1.5 miles of hiking trails and another 2.5 mile hike/bike trail that extends to downtown Goliad and Presidio La Bahia, the Spanish colonial fort established alongside the mission.
Starting July 1, an exhibit will debut celebrating the 75th anniversary of the creation of Goliad State Park. Exhibit panels, photos and displays will take visitors through time in all the mission buildings, leading from the chapel to the granary to the workshop.
"It will be like they just walked off a work site," said Livingston, referring to exhibits showing how CCC workers reconstructed the mission.
Goliad State Park is open seven days a week. Entrance fees are $2 per adult, free for children ages 12 and under. The park is located west of Victoria on U.S. Highway 183 just south of the town of Goliad. For details, see the park 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]
June 12, 2006
June 30 Is Deadline for Parks Pass/Magazine Offer
AUSTIN, Texas -- Tens of thousands of Texans have purchased a Texas State Parks Pass, indicating there's no more economical way to line up a summer of fun. The onset of summer thus makes the timing right for a promotion that ends this month. Anyone who buys a parks pass by June 30 will also receive a free, 12-month subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.
The annual pass provides a year of free entry from the date of purchase for the holder and car load of family or friends to more than 115 Texas state parks, natural areas and historic sites. With the $60 pass, visitors get additional benefits: discounts at select parks on camping, park store merchandise, equipment rentals and free programs. Other perks include a quarterly e-newsletter, The Getaway Planner; a free copy of the Texas State Park Guide; and a state parks bumper sticker.
"There really is no better way to explore and enjoy the great outdoors and Texas history than the Texas State Parks Pass," said Walt Dabney, TPWD state parks director. "It's no secret these days that our state parks need financial support. One of the most important things people can do to help is go to your parks, enjoy your parks, and the best way to do that is with the pass. Revenue from pass sales and park entry and camping fees is dedicated by statute so it can only be spent on state park needs."
More than 150,000 parks passes have been sold since the program debuted Jan. 1, 2004. Sales each year outpace previous year totals, generating needed funds for the operation and upkeep of Texas state parks.
The Texas State Parks Pass or a gift certificate for a pass can be bought at most Texas state parks or ordered by phone from the TPWD Customer Contact Center, (512) 389-8900.
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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 ]
[ Media Contacts: Tom Harvey, TPWD, (512) 389-4453; Sam Mason, ICF, (956) 342-5143 ]
June 12, 2006
ICF Nature Photography Awards To Be Announced June 17
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas -- The winners in what has been called world's first all-professional nature photography tournament will be announced at a public celebration Saturday, June 17 here at the Hangar Hotel.
Seventeen world-renowned nature photographers teamed with 17 Texas Hill Country ranchers during April to compete for up to $160,000 in total prize money during the inaugural Images for Conservation Pro-Tour of Nature Photography. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an organizing sponsor of the event and helped coordinate the involvement of rancher/landowners.
"Those attending the VIP Party and Award Celebration will have the opportunity to view some of the best nature photographs ever shot in the Texas Hill Country and meet with some of the professionals who captured those images," said John Martin, chairman of The Images for Conservation Fund.
Tickets for the VIP Reception and Awards Celebration are $250 for a single ticket or $200 per ticket when two or more are purchased. Tickets to the Award Celebration are $125 for a single ticket or $100 each for two or more tickets. To make reservations, call Images for Conservation at (956) 381-1264 or email icfprotour@aol.com. The VIP Reception will be held from 5 -- 6 p.m., and the Awards Celebration will be held from 6 -9 p.m.
The Images for Conservation Fund was formed to foster greater wildlife conservation through the promotion of sustainable nature photo tourism for private landowners. The non-profit organization will unite private landowners to attract nature photographers from around the world. The group is dedicated to wildlife conservation through economic benefits to Hill Country landowners.
The vehicle to promote this concept is the first Images for Conservation Fund Pro-Tour of Nature Photography, a world-class championship that matched top nature photographers with landowners who have taken steps to create a habitat conducive for wildlife photography. Shooting for the inaugural Pro-Tour was held during the month of April on 17 Hill Country ranches, including the ranch of singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen.
"Nature photography has the unique ability to preserve habitat permanently by making it profitable," Martin said. "In 1996, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services estimated that more than 28 million people photographed wildlife-the same number of people who played golf that year. Golfers spend billions of dollars on their pastime each year and support thousands of golf courses around the world. Nature photographers have the potential to generate tremendous income for private landowners who lease professionally designed photo sites on prime habitat. When landowners profit from conservation, then we shall see the long-term preservation of entire natural ecosystems."
The Pro-Tour of Nature Photography is very similar to the Professional Golfer's Association, Martin said. "The PGA tour promotes its sport to amateurs and professionals of all abilities, thus generating demand for more golf courses. Likewise, the Images for Conservation Fund Pro-Tour of Nature Photography is intended to foster a market for photographers seeking access to private land specially prepared for photography."
Martin also was a founder of The Valley Land Fund, a non-profit land trust located in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. Throughout its 10-year history, the Valley Land Fund's Wildlife Photo Contest has introduced hundreds of south Texas ranchers to the beauty and value of their land's wildlife and has inspired a generation of amateur and professional photographers to push their talents to the limit.
Participating landowners in the hill country Pro-Tour event have a minimum of 500 contiguous acres of wildlife habitat located partly or wholly in any of the following 13 counties: Bandera, Bexar, Blanco, Burnet, Comal, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Medina, Real, Travis, and Uvalde. The final selection of 17 participating landowner properties was based upon the diversity of wildlife and habitat on the property and the applicant's wildlife management practices.
Pro-Tour sponsors include the Fredericksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, AEP Texas, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Toyota, CEMEX, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the City of Kerrville, the City of Bandera, Texas, The Richards Group, Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, HEB, Frost Bank and others.
The Images for Conservation Fund is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Texas. For more information, visit the ICF Web site or call Images for Conservation Executive Director Sam Mason at (956) 381-1264.
Photo Editors Note: Photos are available for news media use on the ICF website. Contact Sam Mason for assistance.
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