|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2007-08-24                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 24, 2007
New Park Funding Highlights 2008 TPWD Budget
AUSTIN, Texas -- The most significant new funding for state and local parks in decades, money to build a new East Texas fish hatchery and new funds to help game wardens enforce wildlife laws and border security are among the highlights of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2008 budget.
The fiscal year 2008 budget approved Aug. 23 by the TPW Commission totals $405.8 million, including $260.4 million for operating (salaries and benefits, equipment and other expenses), $53.9 million for grants (for city and county parks and other programs), $83.7 million for capital (construction) projects and purchases such as vehicles and computers and $7.8 million for debt service to pay back bonds.
In 2007, the budget totaled $295 million, including $223.5 million for operating, $12.6 million for grants, $52.4 million for capital projects and $6.5 million for bond debt service.
Additional park funding is the standout feature of the 2008 budget, thanks to appropriations by state lawmakers in the recent legislative session. This will make possible 229 new employee positions at state parks across Texas, which in turn will mean new or reinstated tours and programs for the visiting public at sites that will be more accessible and open more often (many parks cut operating hours or days of the week in recent years, primarily due to loss of staff positions). There is also new equipment and repair money to keep state park facilities cleaner and in better condition.
"The Texas Legislature increased our appropriation significantly for state parks and appropriated funds for several other important conservation programs," said Robert L. Cook, TPWD executive director. "Besides park funding, the legislature appropriated millions of dollars for additional game wardens and homeland security, freshwater stamp funds for the East Texas Fish Hatchery, money to repair and dry-berth the Battleship Texas, and funds to support the transfer of the Texas State Railroad to the newly created local rail authority. Bottom line: it is a wonderful set of appropriations that we are very thankful for. We must now work very hard to use these and all funds appropriated effectively and efficiently."
Part of the park funding still requires voter approval. Legislators provided $44 million in bond authority for major repairs at state parks during the biennium, including $17 million already approved by voters in 2001, plus $27 million that must still be approved by Texas voters in November as part of the Proposition 4 bond package. Another $25 million in bond authority for the Battleship TEXAS must also first be approved by voters in Proposition 4.
Parks were not the only beneficiaries of legislative support. The Law Enforcement Division is getting $1 million in new money in 2008 through the appropriations bill, and will also get an additional $1.27 million in 2008 through the Border Security Initiative, which will fund another 15 game warden positions for the border region.
Also thanks to legislative appropriations, the 2008 budget includes $4.9 million in freshwater fishing stamp funds to begin construction of the new fish hatchery planned for Jasper in East Texas. Construction of the hatchery is currently projected to cost about $26 million.
In the area of water resources, the legislature appropriated funding and three new TPWD employee positions to help categorize river instream flow needs. This is related to a sweeping package of water resource measures, including the omnibus water bill Senate Bill 3, which provides clear direction and new ways to keep water flowing in rivers and into bays and estuaries.
For the Wildlife Division, the legislature gave approval to make use of funds from the Migratory and Upland Game Bird stamps introduced in 2006. This will provide $400,000 in 2008 for mourning and white-winged dove banding studies to determine the population health and abundance of these popular game birds, plus research on the effectiveness of non-toxic shot. Legislators also approved use of money from the sale of deer and horned lizard conservation automobile license plates, providing funds for grants to restore habitat and conduct research. Horned lizard plate funds will also help pay for wildlife diversity (nongame) programs. This will free up other funds to help field wildlife staff across the state deal with rising fuel costs to assist landowners and encourage private land conservation.
The Coastal Fisheries Division will benefit in 2008 from the first year of a $3.2 million, 5-year oyster disaster relief federal grant, part of the 2005 Hurricane Emergency Funding Bill passed by congress after Katrina. This will fund five new employee positions for three grant projects. The first will determine existing reef habitat conditions in Sabine Lake and Galveston Bay, including detailed side-scan mosaics and interpretive maps. The second project will restore reef habitat by buying and placing material on reef sites. The third will help locate and remove debris blocking navigational channels, improving angler access to fishing areas and restoring sensitive habitat areas.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Aug. 24, 2007
Commission Adopts Waterfowl Seasons
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the approval of season dates and bag limits Aug. 23, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission set the parameters for what could be one of the best waterfowl hunting season in many years.
Vernon Bevill, program director for small game at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, presented the commission with data showing near record duck populations building to the north and improved habitat conditions on the breeding grounds and awaiting them in Texas. This year's North American waterfowl spring breeding population survey showed populations of the 10 most popular duck species was up 14 percent over last year with an estimated 41.2 million birds. These counts are the highest since 2000 and just below the all-time record of 43.8 million ducks recorded in 1999.
Texas, along with four other states in the Central Flyway, will be in the second year of an experimental Hunter's Choice bag limit during the 2007-08 seasons. The Hunter's Choice allows hunters to shoot five ducks daily, but only one in the aggregate of certain species. In the aggregate category of one bird could be either a mallard hen, or a pintail, or a canvasback, or a "dusky duck" (mottled, black duck or Mexican-like duck) . Since hunters are more likely to take a mallard, the mallard hen thus buffers the other less abundant species.
The general duck season length will be the same as last year in the North and South Zones at 74 days and up seven days in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit to 96 days.
Here are this year's waterfowl hunting seasons and bag limits:
Early Teal -- Sept. 15-23 in the HPMMU and Sept. 15-30 in the remainder of the state, bag limit of four teal in the aggregate. (Previously approved by the commission May 24.)
North and South Zones -- Youth-only season Oct. 27-28, regular season Nov. 3-25 and Dec. 8-Jan. 27.
High Plains Mallard Management Unit -- Youth-only season Oct. 13-14; Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 26-Jan. 27 for the regular season.
The proposed daily bag limit for all ducks is five and may include no more than two redheads, two scaup, two wood ducks, and one aggregate "Hunter's Choice" duck.
Eastern Goose Zone -- White-fronted geese: Nov. 3-Jan. 13; Canada and light geese: Nov. 3-Jan. 27.The daily bag limit is three Canada, two white-fronted and 20 light geese.
Western Goose Zone -- Nov. 3-Feb. 5 with a daily bag limit of five dark geese, of which four may be Canada geese and one white-fronted. The bag limit on light geese is 20 per day.
The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit for Canada and white-fronted geese and no possession limit for "light geese."
The Light Goose Conservation Order will start at the close of the regular goose seasons and run through March 30 in both zones.
Sandhill Crane Zone A -- Nov. 3-Feb. 3 with a daily bag limit of three.
Sandhill Crane Zone B -- Nov. 23-Feb. 3 with a daily bag limit of three.
Sandhill Crane Zone C -- Dec. 22-Jan. 27 with a daily bag limit of two.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Aug. 24, 2007
More Than $4 Million Awarded In Trail, Local Park Grants
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission Aug. 23 approved $3.66 million to fund 41 recreational trail projects and $797,231 for small community grants for 18 communities across the state.
Of the 18 small communities approved for grant monies, only seven received less than the maximum $50,000 grant. Those receiving $50,000 grants to help develop community parks were: Coolidge, Driscoll, Farmersville, Fort Bend, Gladewater, Lamesa, Marble Falls, Odem, Tuscola, Vernon and Windthorst. Community grants ranging from $18,982 to $44,548 were awarded to: Brownfield, Carmine, Clarendon, Edgewood, Edna, Martindale and Rockdale.
The Small Community Program provides grants reimbursing 50 percent of the cost, up to a maximum of $50,000, to political subdivisions responsible for providing public recreation services to their citizens. Small communities are classified as communities with a population of 20,000 or less. The initiative is funded through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account grant program, established in 1993 by the Texas Legislature to direct a portion of the state sales tax collected on sporting goods for basic outdoor recreation.
Dozens of communities throughout the state, the U.S. Forest Service and four Texas state parks will receive more than $3 million in National Recreational Trails Grant monies. In all, 58 trail projects totaling $5.5 million in federal funds were submitted to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for consideration.
Two motorized trail projects, including $520,000 to the U.S. Forest Service to renovate 85 miles of trail in the Sam Houston National Forest, received funding approval from the Commission. The Texas Forest Service's request for $100,000 for a trailhead, signage and planning for a motorized trail in the E.O. Siecke State Forest in Jasper County also won approval. A federal requirement of the trail fund is that 30 percent of the funds be spent on motorized recreational trail projects and 30 percent on non-motorized trail projects, with the remaining 40 percent discretionary.
Four Texas state parks receiving approval for trails funding were: Big Bend Ranch State Park ($369,986) for jeep trail improvements; Devils River State Natural Area ($48,000) for development of a hike & bike trail; Cooper Lake State Park ($76,000) for equestrian trails renovation and new corrals; and Huntsville State Park ($75,000) for hike & bike trail renovations.
The Texas Trails Network will receive $18,000 in national trail grant monies to plan for a statewide trails conference in The Woodlands. A $100,000 grant was awarded to The Texas Bicycle Coalition for a 10.3 mile rails-to-trails project in Bastrop County.
Five Austin area communities received national grant funding for non-motorized trails: $100,000 to build the .4 mile Spring Lake Trail at the Texas Rivers Center in San Marcos; $100,000 to develop the 1.7 mile Lost Pines Hike & Bike trail in Bastrop County; $45,016 to build the crushed granite Mountain Creek Trail in Pflugerville; and $48,000 and $40,892 to build the El Camino Real Recreational Trail and the Ringtail Ridge Trail in San Marcos.
Several Dallas/Fort Worth area communities received national trail grant funding for non-motorized trails: $99,686 for the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center Trail in Dallas County; $46,020 for the Pilot Knoll Horse and Hiking Trail in Denton County; and $99,704 to implement Phase II of the Trinity Trails in Collin County.
A number of recreation trail grant projects in the Houston area received funding for non-motorized trails: $45,344 for the City of Conroe's Carl Barton Jr. Park Trail; $82,957 to reconnect the Greenspoint Trails in Harris County; $96,000 for another Harris County project, the Dixie Farm Park Trail; two $100,000 grants to the City of Houston for construction of ADA trails at the Metropolitan Center and the Houston Arboretum; $100,000 for a new trail along Mary's Creek in Pearland; $100,000 for the Cypress Creek Hike & Bike Trail project in Harris County; and $100,000 to develop the Keegans Bayou Hike & Bike Trail.
Two San Antonio area communities received national trails grant funding for trails projects: $59,499 for the Leon Valley Connectivity Trail and $51,800 for the City of Schertz Recreational Trail.
The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases for off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. NRFT provides funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.
The Federal Highway Administration administers the funds and distributes them to states via a formula that takes into account state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles. Nationwide, the program was appropriated $75 million for the current federal fiscal year (FY2007); Texas' share of these funds is $3.4. In addition, because some prior trail projects were completed under budget, $361,000 became available for reallocation this year
Each project awarded NRFT funds is reviewed by a nine-member Texas Trails Advisory Board and ranked based on the quality of the project, its cost effectiveness, its impact on recreational trail opportunities and geographic distribution of funds.
In March 2007, a 90-day call for proposals was issued. The 41 projects approved were selected from 58 submitted proposals requesting more than $5.5 million in funds.
In addition to recreational trail project funding for major metro areas mentioned above, the Commission also approved funding for the following counties:
--Angelina -- $12,400 for the Texas Forestry Museum's Urban Wildscape Trail
--Bee -- $37,813 for the Poesta Creek Walking Trail in Beeville
--Calhoun -- $70,000 for the Lighthouse Beach Trail in Port Lavaca
--Cameron -- $100,000 for the Laguna Vista Park Trail in Laguna Vista
--Cameron -- $34,681 for the Washington Park Trail in Port Lavaca
--El Paso -- $77,956 for the Riverbend Trail in the City of El Paso
--Fannin -- $16, 554 for the Lake Fannin Trail
--Fannin -- $45,800 for the Caddo Grassland Multi-use Trails
--Hidalgo -- $100,000 for the Hidalgo County Trails
--Hidalgo -- $64,160 for The Wild Path to Learning project at the Lower Rio Grande Nature Center in Weslaco
--Lamar -- $99,991 for the Trail de Paris Extension in the City of Paris
--Nacogdoches -- $48,000 for the Banita Creek North Trail in the City of Nacogdoches
--Rusk -- $96,880 for the Fair Park Trail in Henderson
--Smith -- $99,920 for the Faulkner Park Trail in Lindale
--Webb -- $36,680 for the Paso del Indio Nature Trail at Laredo Community College
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department administers the Recreation and Parks Account program and uses a priority scoring system to determine which projects are eligible to receive matching grant funds for recreational projects. For more information on local park grants, call the Recreation Grants division of Texas Parks and Wildlife at (512) 912-7124 or e-mail rec.grants@tpwd.texas.gov.
Local governments such as cities, counties, municipal utility districts and water districts depend on these grants to develop public outdoor recreation facilities for playgrounds, sports, trails, hunting, fishing, aquatic activities, camping and beautification.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 24, 2007
TPW Commission Approves Lake Sam Rayburn Boating Access Grant
AUSTIN, Texas -- Due to funding constraints, only one boat ramp project received a 75 percent matching grant of $500,000 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the latest round of grants. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the project at its Aug. 23 meeting.
The Angelina County grant will help pay for the construction of a five-lane boat ramp, parking area, access road, lighting and signage. The facility provides public boating access to Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina County at Cassels-Boykin Park.
The State Boating Access Program was authorized in 1975 by the Texas Legislature. The program provides funds for the purchase, construction, renovation and maintenance of boat ramps, access roads and other related facilities to improve recreational boating access to public waters. Construction for approved projects is supported on a 75 percent (federal), 25 percent (local) basis.
While the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department administers the grants, funding comes from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, also known as Wallop-Breaux for the original congressional sponsors. The Sport Fish Restoration program is funded by revenues from a portion of federal gasoline taxes generated when recreational boaters gas up their boats and a federal excise tax on items such as fishing rods, reels, creels, lures, flies and artificial baits.
The Department recently received six applications for renovations of existing boat ramps or for new ramp construction requesting $2,214,025 in matching fund assistance. Based on site visits and analyses, the projects have been ranked in descending order of priority. Currently, funding is available only for the top-ranked project, submitted by Angelina County. In addition, some $379,500 in boating access funds will go toward aquatic vegetation control to improve boating access to Lakes Conroe, Toledo Bend, Caddo and Austin.
Organizations that submitted grant applications but were not funded in the current round are invited to resubmit their applications for consideration in the next round of grants, projected to be in January 2008.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 24, 2007
Outdoor Skills Training Offered To Texas Families
AUSTIN, Texas -- Watch a red-tailed hawk soaring over the desert with a child at your side. Glide over seagrass meadows in the mangrove-lined lakes near Aransas Pass. Watch a meteor shower from your campsite in the backcountry of Lost Maples State Natural Area.
Wherever you live in Texas, chances are there is someplace to engage in outdoor recreation within 100 miles of your home.
Research shows that it is not a lack of interest that keeps families from getting outside, but experience and time.
A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program called "Outdoor Family" aims to change that. In partnership with local parks and recreation departments across the state, Outdoor Family workshops provide essential training in skills like camping, paddling, archery, fishing, geocaching, youth nature education and more.
An outgrowth of the wildly successful "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman" program offered by TPWD, Outdoor Family has so far hosted three workshops with between 60 and 80 participants each.
Four more are slated for this fall.
"The Outdoor Family program itself provides an excellent opportunity for families to create terrific and long lasting memories. Research has shown when families work together as a team in an outdoor environment, like camping or planning outdoor weekends, those positive bonds and communication skills spill over into other aspects of their lives," said Ashley Mathews, program coordinator. "Plus, it is just plain fun. The families have a great time discovering their outdoor interests and learning together."
Mathews said that the basic outdoor skills families learn in a weekend workshop equip them to safely strike out and have a great time on their own.
"All of our classes are geared toward beginners," she said. "We don't assume anyone has pre-existing skills or experience."
The workshops are geared toward families with children between the ages of 5 and 13 and typically span a weekend, beginning Friday evening or Saturday morning and lasting through Sunday noon. Usually between six and eight classes are offered throughout the weekend. Family members may pick and choose those that most closely match their interests.
The workshops are open to all types of families, including grandparents and grandchildren and adults with nieces or nephews. Fees for the courses are set by the local parks and recreation departments with which TPWD partners, but typically average about $150 for a family of four. All recreational and safety equipment necessary to participate in the classes is provided.
Mathews said that the only limit on how often Outdoor Family workshops are held is the number of county and city parks and recreation departments willing to partner with TPWD.
"We're actively seeking additional partners all over the state," she said.
2007 Fall workshops are scheduled for:
--Georgetown (Sept. 22-23)
--Waco (Oct. 13-14)
--San Antonio (Nov. 10-11)
--Missouri City (Nov. 10-11)
For more information or an application, please e-mail or call Ashley Mathews at: (512) 970-9247 or BAOW@tpwd.texas.gov
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 24, 2007
Opening Day Shrimp Boat Count Lowest On Record
AUSTIN, Texas -- Aerial counts of bay and bait shrimp boats working the Texas coast were conducted Aug. 15 after the commercial shrimp season opened. There was good weather for the count, although the coast was bracing for Tropical Storm Erin, which made landfall the next day.
A total of 180 boats were counted coastwide, the lowest number since TPWD began opening day surveys in 1994. Last year, TPWD counted 213 boats active on opening day for the 2006 fall season. Galveston Bay showed a decrease from 122 boats last year to 91 boats this year, a 25 percent decline.
In contrast, Corpus Christi Bay showed an increase from seven boats last year up to 22 boats this year, a 68 percent increase.
"One factor at work here is the TPWD shrimp license buyback program, which is nearing our goals in the program," said TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division Director Larry McKinney, PhD. Other factors obviously contributing to the reduction in shrimping effort seen is the continued low shrimp prices and the higher costs for fuel."
The inshore shrimp license buy-back program was established with the limited entry program in 1995 by the Texas legislature. The legislative initiative was designed to more effectively deal with the issue of over-shrimping through capping the sale of new licenses and allowing for a buy-back program to retire licenses from voluntary and willing sellers.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Aug. 24, 2007
TPWD Expands Spanish-Language Web Services
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has expanded the Spanish-language section of its public Web site with the addition of the 2007-2008 Outdoor Annual in Spanish.
The downloadable document, in Adobe PDF format, is a digest of hunting and fishing regulations for the state, and includes important information about license requirements and bag and size limits for game fish and animals.
"Texas Parks and Wildlife is committed to making outdoor opportunities available to all and with the Hispanic population in Texas continuing to grow, we need to make every effort to ensure that information on how to enjoy the outdoors is available to all of our publics," said TPWD Communications Director Lydia Saldaña.
This year's Outdoor Annual is just one of the site features available in Spanish. Visitors also may find a guide to fishing spots in major metropolitan areas, a basic guide to fishing called "takemefishing," boating safety information and the complete state park guide with information about Texas state parks and historic sites.
Note to Editors: For local Spanish-language interviews about hunting, fishing or outdoor recreation, please call (512) 389-8046 or e-mail: aaron.reed@tpwd.texas.gov.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 24, 2007
Texas Parks And Wildlife Expo Set For Oct. 6-7
AUSTIN, Texas -- America's largest free, family-oriented festival of the outdoors takes place Oct. 6-7 at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters in Austin. The event includes a number of new offerings this year, while bringing back dozens of the popular activities which draw more than 35,000 visitors from across the state each fall.
"Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo is like the world's fair for the great outdoors," said Ernie Gammage with TPWD's Urban Outdoors Program. "If you've never tried these activities, it's a great chance to see and do it all in a safe setting with expert guidance. In everything, you'll find a message of stewardship, the idea that we all have role to play in the conservation of the natural world."
Several new activities will tempt visitors of all ages to the 16th annual Expo, including a number of special attractions.
One new offering this year is the Personal Watercraft Simulator, an interactive and educational device which employs technology similar to arcade video games. Visitors will strap on a life jacket, climb on, rev 'er up and head out on the water, threading obstacles as they zip along the coastline. It's fun and challenging, and participants will learn a thing or two about boating rules and water safety.
On a related note, country rock music star Kevin Fowler comes to Expo for the first time this year, signing autographed posters in the popular Wet Zone kayaking area on Sunday. Kevin is the new celebrity spokesperson for the Nobody's Waterproof™ boating safety initiative. Kevin's an avid outdoorsman who understands that safety on the water is important if you want to keep coming back to have fun.
And for those experienced boater/anglers who are ready to step up and share the heritage, the Anglers' Legacy program will be at the Expo for the first time. Launched in 2006 by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), this program urges avid anglers to share their passion by visiting AnglersLegacy.org, where they're asked to "Take the Pledge" and promise to take one new person fishing each year. In its first year, the program garnered nearly 10,000 pledges.
Today's cities are crowded with families who would love to get outdoors, but lack the right skills and experience. With support from sponsor Academy, the new Family Camping Demonstration Site in the Camping and Outdoor Skills area will offer ongoing, informal instruction.
For families who like a minimalist approach that's easy on the earth, the Leave No Trace program staff will also be on hand. Skilled volunteers will answer questions and demonstrate gear and skills for car camping, backpacking, outdoor safety and camp cooking, plus show visitors how to set up and use tents and other equipment.
Another first: geocaching at Expo. After a brief orientation, participants will be loaned Global Positioning Systems (GPS) units and will head out on the grounds to find cached items. This increasingly popular activity comes to Expo courtesy of Central Texas Geocachers.
For Spanish-speaking visitors, a new series of Outdoors 101 brochures translated into Spanish will be available at the International Pavilion. These cover how to get started in freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, camping and hunting.
Returning visitors will find perennial favorite activities such as the Birds of Prey Show by master falconer and raptor rehabilitator John Karger, who demonstrates the tie between mankind and the wild world with live eagles, hawks and other raptors in flight. These entertaining and educational shows take place at noon and 3 p.m. daily in the Birds of Prey Arena.
Also, SeaWorld's Chris Bellows brings the popular "Amazing Animals" show to the Main Tent twice a day, with shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Casting Kids activity in the Fishing and Aquatic area invites young people ages 7-to-14 to test their flipping, pitching and casting skills, learn about fishing, conservation and protection of the great outdoors and win prizes. Participants will also have a chance at competing for a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships and prizes to be given away nationwide.
All events on Saturday and Sunday are free, as are water and air-conditioned shuttle bus service and parking. Although food may be brought in, coolers are discouraged because of the long walk to the grounds. Special shuttles on site will serve people with disabilities. Sorry, no pets allowed. Visitors are advised to bring cameras and sunscreen, and a little cash can be handy to buy food or outdoor gear and Expo merchandise.
Expo remains free to the public through the support of major sponsors such as 100.7 KASE 101, Anheuser-Busch, HOLT CAT, Recuerdo, The Dow Chemical Company, Time Warner Cable and Toyota. Other sponsors include Academy Sports & Outdoors, ACM Tractor Sales, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Careco Multimedia, Inc., Mossy Oak, Texas Gas Service, Arby's of Central Texas, Austin Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Boone & Crockett Club, Briley Manufacturing, Crosman Air Guns, Houston Safari Club, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Shikar Safari Club International Foundation, Temple-Inland, U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service and Weatherby Foundation International.
Out-of-towners looking for a place to stay can call the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau at (512) 478-0098 for hotel and motel information. To make reservations at a Central Texas state park, call (512) 389-8900 or book online.
There is limited free parking near the grounds, but the best way to get to the Expo is to catch a free shuttle bus at Highland Mall (Macy's side) near I-35 and Highway 290. If rain shuts down on-site parking, all visitors must catch shuttle buses, which run from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
For more information about Expo, including maps and directions, visit the TPWD Web site or call (800) 792-1112.
On the Net:
This release in Spanish: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20070824i

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Aug. 24, 2007
La Expo Parques Y Vida Silvestre De Texas Se Celebra El 6 Y 7 De Octubre
AUSTIN, Texas -- El festival de campismo y actividades al aire libre más grande de Estados Unidos es un evento gratuito para toda la familia que se celebrará el 6 y 7 de octubre en el Departamento de Parques y Vida Silvestre de Texas (TPWD por sus siglas en inglés) en Austin. El evento cuenta con nuevas diversiones y las populares actividades que en años anteriores han atraído a más de 35,000 asistentes.
"La Expo de Parques y Vida Silvestre de Texas es como la feria mundial del campismo", dijo Ernie Gammage del Programa Ecológico Urbano del Departamento. "Si usted no ha intentado estas actividades, es una gran oportunidad para verlas y practicarlas en un lugar seguro con guías expertos. En todo encontrará un mensaje de conservación y la idea de que todos jugamos un papel en la conservación del mundo natural".
Varias actividades nuevas serán una tentación para visitantes de todas las edades a esta décima sexta Expo, incluyendo algunos eventos especiales.
Una novedad este año es el Simulador de Embarcación Personal, un aparato interactivo y educativo similar a la tecnología de los juegos de video. Los visitantes se ponen el chaleco salvavidas y se embarcan y arrancan por las aguas, colándose entre obstáculos a lo largo de la costa. Es divertido y desafiante y aprenderá algunas reglas para pasear en lancha con seguridad.
Otra novedad es la presentación de Kevin Fowler, estrella de rock folklórico. El domingo estará autografiando carteles en el área de actividades acuáticas llamada "Wet Zone". Kevin es el nuevo voceador célebre para una iniciativa que promueve la seguridad en la operación de embarcaciones. Kevin es un ávido campista y entiende que la seguridad en el agua es importante si desea seguir disfrutando de las actividades acuáticas.
Y para los expertos en pesca y operación de embarcaciones que estén listos para compartir este patrimonio, el Programa Legado de Pescadores estará en la Expo por primera vez. Inaugurado por una fundación el 2006, el programa exhorta a los ávidos pescadores a compartir su pasión visitando la página de Internet AnglersLegacy.org, donde les pedirán que "Haga una Promesa" de llevar a pescar a una persona diferente cada año. Aproximadamente 10,000 personas hicieron la promesa el primer año del programa.
Las ciudades en la actualidad están llenas de familias a quienes les fascinaría salirse al campo pero les falta experiencia. Con el patrocinio de Academy, el Área de Demostración del Campismo para la Familia estará ofreciendo capacitación informal.
Para las familias minimalistas que prefieren tener el menor impacto sobre la naturaleza, tendremos el programa No Deje Rastro. Voluntarios expertos contestarán preguntas y demostrarán equipo y habilidades para acampar en vehículos o con mochila, cocinar en el campo, practicar medidas de seguridad e instalar tiendas de campaña y otro equipo.
Otra actividad nueva es la búsqueda de tesoros (geocaching). Después de una breve orientación, le prestarán una unidad del Sistema de Posicionamiento Global (SPG) para que busque objetos escondidos en la Expo. Esta popular actividad será presentada por cortesía de una organización en el Centro de Texas.
Para las personas de habla hispana, tendremos la nueva serie "Introducción al Campismo" traducida al español y disponible en el Pabellón Internacional. Le ayudará a iniciarse en la pesca en aguas marinas o en agua dulce, en la cacería y en el campismo.
Los visitantes que han participado en años anteriores encontrarán actividades favoritas como el espectáculo con Aves Rapaces por el halconero John Karger, quien muestra el lazo que existe entre la humanidad y el mundo de águilas, halcones y otras aves rapaces. Estos divertidos y educativos espectáculos se llevarán a cabo al medio día y a las 3 p.m. en la Arena de Aves Rapaces.
Además, Chris Bellows del SeaWorld traerá a la Carpa Principal el popular espectáculo "Asombrosos Animales" a las 11 a.m. y las 2 p.m.
En el Área Acuática y de Pesca, habrá una actividad para jóvenes de 7 a 14 años de edad para probar que tan buena mano tienen tirando la línea de pesca con diferentes tipos de carretes. Aprenda acerca de la pesca y la conservación y protección del grandioso entorno natural y gane premios. Los participantes tendrán oportunidad de competir en un sorteo nacional de un cuarto de millón dólares en becas y premios.
Todos los eventos el sábado y domingo son gratuitos, al igual que el agua, el transporte en autobuses con aire acondicionado y el estacionamiento. Aunque pueden traer alimentos, es preferible que no traigan hieleras por las distancias en la Expo. Tendremos transporte especial para personas discapacitadas. No se admiten mascotas. Se recomienda que los visitantes traigan su cámara, crema para protegerse del sol y algo de dinero para que compren alimentos, equipo de campismo y recuerdos de la Expo.
La Expo sigue siendo un evento gratuito con el patrocinio de 100.7 KASE 101, Anheuser-Busch, HOLT CAT, Recuerdo, la Compañía Dow Chemical, Time Warner Cable y Toyota. Otros patrocinadores incluyen Academy Sports y Outdoors, ACM Tractor Sales, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Careco Multimedia, Inc., Mossy Oak, Texas Gas Service, Arby's del Centro de Texas, la Embotelladora de Coca-Cola en Austin, Boone & Crockett Club, Briley Manufacturing, Crosman Air Guns, Houston Safari Club, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Shikar Safari Club International Foundation, Temple-Inland, el Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de Estados Unidos y Weatherby Foundation International.
Si necesita hospedarse en Austin, puede obtener información de hoteles y moteles en la Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes de Austin en el (512)478-0098. Para hacer reservaciones en un parque estatal en el Centro de Texas, llame al (512)389-8900 o reserve por Internet.
Con el limitado estacionamiento cerca de la Expo, es preferible tomar el autobús en Highland Mall (al lado de la tienda Macy's cerca de las carreteras IH35 y 290. Si llueve, lo más probable es que el estacionamiento en la Expo esté cerrado y todos los asistentes tengan que viajar en los autobuses, los cuales estarán en servicio de 8:30 a.m. a las 6 p.m. diariamente.
Para más información acerca de la Expo, incluyendo mapas y direcciones, visite la página de Internet del TPWD o llame al (800)792-1112.
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This release in English: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20070824h

[ 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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Shorty Powers (972) 524-4231 or shorty@turningpointnation.org ]
Aug. 24, 2007
1st Alamo Extravaganza "Celebration of Choices" Sept. 15 in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO -- Turning Point, San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Association and other partners will host the 1st Alamo Extravaganza "Celebration of Choices" Sep. 15 in San Antonio, providing a setting for people with disabilities to experience fishing, climbing, shooting, kayaking and many other outdoor activities.
The event takes place 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., Sept. 15 at Woodlawn Lake, 1103 Cincinnati Street.
Activities will include Archery, Scuba, Bowling, Handcycles, Bass Fishing, Climbing Wall, Kayaking, Catfish Tank, Sailing, Air Rifles, Fly Fishing, Fencing, Laser Shot, Remote Control Cars, Golf, Casting, Disc Golf, Academy Camping Area, Rugby Demo, Tennis, Horseback Riding, Petting Zoo and Face Painting.
The City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the event. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is arranging archery activities, air rifles, fly fishing, catfish stocking and other assistance. The Texas Wildlife Association is also a major event sponsor.
Event visitors have a chance to win thousands of dollars in outdoor equipment. For every activity visitors participate in, they will receive a ticket for a drawing to give away prizes.
Turning Point was founded in 1979 by Michael "Shorty" Powers. After an injury at age 17 left Shorty without the use of his legs he began looking for opportunities to become involved in the outdoor recreational activities that he had always loved. He found no organized activities that were available to people who had major mobility impairments. Not willing to give up his love of fishing, kayaking, scuba diving and hunting, Shorty established Turning Point to assure that outdoor activities were readily available to people with many types of physical challenges.
Turning Point is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization designed to teach people with mobility impairments the skills necessary to fully enjoy the outdoors, and to provide free or low cost activities. Turning Point provides the encouragement and support needed for people who have major physical challenges in life to fully participate in the adventure of living.
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