|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-12-04                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Dec. 4, 2006
Texas Parks & Wildlife Invites You To Go "Green" This Holiday Season
AUSTIN -- Having a hard time figuring out what to give the person who has everything this holiday season? The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has some suggestions that not only will please the gift recipient, but benefit wildlife and parks as well.
One of the department's most popular conservation gifts is the annual Texas State Parks Pass. Purchase of the $60 pass before Dec. 31 entitles the purchaser to receive a commemorative 2007 Texas State Parks Christmas tree ornament, plus a pillow box for the gift and a gift card. Keep it yourself or put the unique brass-plated ornament under the tree for Uncle Joe.
"The ornament pays tribute to Indian Lodge, Mission Tejas … and it has little icons of a crested caracara bird, black-eyed Susan wildflower, a kayak and more," said Bryan Frazier, who is the state parks promotions coordinator. "The money from sales of the parks pass and ornament benefits state parks, so people will know that they're making a difference for Texas conservation and getting a little token of state parks as a bonus."
In addition to the parks pass, holiday shoppers can shop online on the TPWD "Shop the Outdoors" web area, where they can find a wide variety of other unusual conservation gift items from the TPWD.
Featured items this year are a special Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine holiday gift offer with a free wildlife calendar premium, "Life's Better Outside" t-shirts, the 2006 Covey Collector's Edition stamps, Texas Outdoor Expo posters, Great Texas Wildlife Trail maps and "Keep Texas Wild" conservation license plates benefiting wildlife diversity, state parks, hunting and fishing.
The Texas State Parks Pass entitles the pass holder and their guests to unlimited free visits to all Texas state parks, historic sites and state natural areas that represent the best in Texas' natural and cultural attractions. The pass also provides discounts at select parks on camping, lodging, park store merchandise, equipment rentals and special park programs.
Other perks for pass holders include a free copy of the Texas State Park Guide and a state parks pass bumper sticker. In addition, persons who purchase a parks pass can receive a discounted annual subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine.
Texas State Parks Pass gift certificates may be purchased for $60 at most Texas state parks or ordered by phone from the Customer Service Center, (512) 389-8900. Recipients of the gift certificate can then redeem the certificate at a Texas state park, historic site or state natural area and receive their State Parks Pass.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Dec. 4, 2006
Ground Broken for New Caprock Canyons Visitor Center
QUITAQUE, Texas -- Ground has been broken for a new, 4,440-square-foot Visitor Center at Caprock Canyons State Park. An official groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 28 for the new center that is scheduled for completion by summer of 2007.
The $1.5 million project will include installation of a number of informative exhibits inside and outside the Visitor Center. They are designed to create a concise and cohesive interpretive narrative about the cultural and natural resources of the state park, the Texas State Bison Herd and Caprock Canyons Trailway. The exhibits are projected to be completed by fall of 2007.
Attending the groundbreaking at the park were officials of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and members of the local community. The golden shovel brigade consisted of Briscoe County Judge Wayne Nance; Caprock Partners Foundation President William Smith; Quitaque Mayor Clyde Dudley; park Superintendent Deanna Oberheu; State Parks Division Director Walt Dabney; and Patsy Harrington, who symbolically represented her late brother O. R. Stark, the Founder of the Caprock Partners Foundation.
After breaking ground at the site of the forthcoming Visitor Center, the dignitaries and local community members attended a reception at the Hope Community Center in Quitaque, where several officials spoke of their visions for the new Visitor Center. Harrington said a few words about her brother, the late O.R. Stark, who was perhaps the greatest visionary for the park.
Funding for the new visitor center came from various sources. This includes a significant donation from Buffalo Funds, a mutual fund family managed by Kornitzer Capital Management of Kansas, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Other dollars came from TPWD state funding, plus a federal highway grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The Visitor Center's introductory exhibits will help park visitors better understand the natural resources of the canyonlands, the North American bison and peoples of the canyon lands. The center will include a park store, 24-hour restrooms, registration and administrative areas, and a group meeting pavilion.
There also will be a park map with wayfinding information, interpretive panels on bison conservation located at the nearby bison overlook and panels offering in-depth interpretation of selected park areas and various trails.
Caprock Canyons State Park features 14,000 acres of rugged, redrock canyonlands carved by tributaries of the Red River at the doorstep of the Texas Panhandle's High Plains. For park information, call (806) 455-1492.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Dec. 4, 2006
Big Time Texas Hunt Winners Announced
AUSTIN, Texas -- Danny Bennett's hunting season calendar just got filled. That's because the Victoria hunter became this year's lucky winner of the Big Time Texas Hunts Grand Slam.
Bennett was selected from among 18,771 applicants to win the Texas Grand Slam, a series of four separate guided hunts for all four big game animals in Texas-white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep.
"This is the biggest thing to happen to me since my wife and grandkids," said Bennett. "Hunting is what I like to do and this is the ultimate. I'm really excited about going on all the hunts. My wife will be going on one, my son on another and my son in law on another, the fourth one is up for grabs."
Bennett paid $10 to apply for the grand slam drawing. The bighorn sheep hunt alone is priceless, something only a handful of people ever get a chance to experience. For his four hunts, Bennett just needs to bring hunting gear and a valid hunting license. Guide service, food, lodging, and on-site transportation for himself and a non-hunting companion are all provided.
Here are the winners and hometowns for all seven Big Time Texas Hunts categories:
--Texas Grand Slam -- Danny Bennett of Victoria.
--Texas Whitetail Bonanza -- Samuel Cardenas of San Antonio, Brian Lauster of Graham, Houston Sterne of Victoria, Eddie Long of Joshua, Claudia Hopkins of Boerne, Mark Kerr of Bryan, Stephen Harpold of Kerrville, Michael Coker of Tyler, Layton Hobbs of Houston, and Wallace Hughes of Spring.
--Texas Exotic Safari -- Denver Eichler of Sandia and James Hrabovski of Victoria
--Texas Premium Buck Hunt -- Lawrence Leschper of Sharpsburg, GA
--Texas Waterfowl Adventure -- Bob Carroll of Kerens
--Texas Big Time Bird Hunt -- John Kennedy of Lufkin
--Texas Gator Hunt -- Garrett Taylor of San Antonio
All told, hunters bought 78,813 Big Time Texas Hunt entries during this year's sales period from Aug. 15 through the Nov. 1 deadline. This generated $788,130 in gross revenue to support wildlife research, habitat management and public hunting.

[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
Dec. 4, 2006
Scoping Meetings Set for Proposed Saltwater Fishing Regulation Changes
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries division will host five scoping meetings the first and second weeks of January to discuss proposed changes to saltwater fishing regulations in 2007.
The annual regulatory review process begins each fall after resource assessments by biologists and review of issues regarding law enforcement activities with game wardens, as well as independent recommendations received from various groups. During the scoping portion of the process, TPWD gathers public input and weighs the biological implications of each issue before presenting the commission with a set of proposed regulation changes in January.
Additional discourse is sought during special public meetings in the spring, and the commission at its April 2007 meeting determines the final regulation changes.
Meetings are slated for:
--Jan. 3 -- Port Isabel Community Center, 213 Yturria, Port Isabel
--Jan. 4 -- Port Mansfield Chamber Pavilion, 101 East Port Drive, Port Mansfield
--Jan. 4 -- Dickinson Marine Lab, 1502 FM 517, Dickinson
--Jan. 9 -- Lion's Field Adult & Senior Citizens Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio
--Jan. 10 -- TAMU-CC, Natural Resources Center Room 1003, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi
Times for all meetings are 7-9 p.m.
The most dramatic change being discussed addresses coastal fisheries biologists' concerns about declining numbers of legal-sized spotted seatrout in the Lower Laguna Madre bay ecosystem compared to historic levels. Although officials point out the seatrout populations in this bay system are on par with numbers statewide, they believe proactive steps will help ensure and enhance the future health of this world class fishery.
Options under consideration for proposed rule changes in January include changes to spotted seatrout bag and size limits in the Lower Laguna Madre.
Other changes under consideration for 2007 include:
--Increasing the minimum length limit on sheepshead to provide sufficient protection for this popular fish to reach sexual maturity and thereby ensure sustainable productivity.
--Provide protection for diamondback terrapins by banning harvest. Biologists are concerned about the possibility of a growing commercial market for the species.
--Increase the minimum length limit for retention of a tarpon to 90 inches.
--Expand current rules prohibiting use of airboats to rally or harass schools of fish to include all boats.
Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made to TPWD, Regulatory Proposals Public Comment, 4200 Smith School Road, 78744, by phoning 800-792-1112 or by visiting the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/).