|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-08-19                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Aug. 19, 2008
LBJ State Park Gears Up for Celebration of Late President's 100th Birthday
STONEWALL, Texas -- The annual celebration of President Lyndon B. Johnson's birthday takes on added significance Wednesday, Aug. 27, the date the Texas Hill Country native would have turned 100 years old.
The honoring of the birth of the 36th president of the United States begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Johnson family cemetery of the LBJ Ranch with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony. It was first held on Aug. 27, 1973, just over seven months after LBJ's death. President and Mrs. Johnson's daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, will attend the ceremony.
During his presidency from 1963 to 1969, LBJ returned frequently to his Texas Hill Country ranch for a brief respite from world problems, to host heads of state and to strategize how to push through landmark national reforms, such as the Civil Rights Act and Medicare. He also spearheaded the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
Aug. 27 promises to be a day of "firsts." For the first time, the National Park Service will allow personal vehicles to be driven onto the LBJ Ranch, starting at 9:30 a.m. Ranch visitors must first acquire a vehicle permit at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site visitor center, just across the Pedernales River from the NPS-operated LBJ Ranch. The test run of personal vehicles on the ranch will last through Sept. 30 at which time NPS will evaluate the results. During the roughly month-long experiment, no ranger bus tours of the ranch will take place.
In another precedent-setting move, the NPS will allow the public to view LBJ's 1960s office in the west end of the Texas White House. The office has been restored and decorated with original furnishings and personal belongings. Additionally, on Centennial Day after the wreath-laying, the public will be able to tour the LBJ Ranch airplane hangar, where Johnson held press conferences and hosted family gatherings, movie screenings and parties. Park staff-guided tours will originate in the hangar. Visitors can see LBJ's office, the Texas White House grounds and U.S. Secret Service command post.
Throughout the day, the public can enjoy refreshments at the state park visitors center and tour the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm to discover the kind of family games LBJ might have enjoyed as a child growing up on the Pedernales River around the turn of the 20th century.
The natural setting that had such an influence on LBJ is still intact and his impact on the nation still reverberates today, said Iris Neffendorf, state park and historic site superintendent.
"Here in the heart of the Texas Hill Country the public can still see the land and get a feel for the lifestyle of our nation's 36th president by visiting the state park that he was so instrumental in creating to better understand why he loved coming home to this part of Texas," Neffendorf said. "This is where LBJ was energized with his can-do spirit whose legacy lives on in our world today through the many bills he signed for education, conservation, space and more."
LBJ's 100th birthday also will be honored with special exhibits on the campus of his alma mater, Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) and at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin, which hosts a barbecue and live music from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the lawn. The date marks the opening, too, of a new exhibit, "To The Moon: The American Space Program," which will run through July 20, 2009.
For more information about the LBJ 100, call the state park at (830) 644-2252 or national park at (830) 868-7128, ext. 244.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Aug. 19, 2008
Texas Youth Super Shoot set for Sept. 6
HOUSTON -- Steve Hall fondly remembers the look on the faces of visitors to the clay shooting activities and the annual Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo in Austin.
"You see smiles on the faces of both kids and adults," said Hall, Texas Parks and Wildlife education director. "It's just fun breaking clay birds."
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is helping to organize various shooting-sports associations, industries and ranges to bring more opportunities for youth to be introduced to the various shooting sports.
The result of the organizational effort is called the Texas Youth Shooting Sports Committee, an association formed in early 2008 with a mission to increase awareness of shooting sports and to encourage youth to participate in them. Starting with the shotgun sports, the committee is offering a series of "Youth Super Shoots" to give young Texans a chance to compete and show-off their skills or simply to shoot for the first time.
"There has been a flat or even a declining trend in various aspects of outdoor and shooting-sports participation by youth. We want to reverse that trend," said committee member Russ Arnold, who is also the state director of skeet and sporting clays for the state's Scholastic Clay Target Program. "And most importantly, kids who participate in shooting sports with responsible adults make better kids. And better kids make better adults."
The second invitational Texas Youth Super Shoot & Family Fun Festival will be held at American Shooting Center in Houston Sept. 6. Shooters of all experience levels between the ages of 8 and 21 are welcome to attend the event to compete or learn about the joys of shotgun shooting for the first time. Their family members also are encouraged to attend and enjoy in various outdoor events, including archery, fly fishing and the shooting events.
"Our facility and staff are extremely pleased to bring this event to the Houston area," said Ed Arrighi, managing partner of the American Shooting Centers. "As the largest public shooting facility in Texas, in the fourth largest city in America, we feel an obligation and also are honored to provide more opportunities for our local youth to experience the outdoors and specifically, the shooting sports."
The entry fee is $75 and competitors will get to shoot 150 clay targets. Any youth who brings a new shooter, one who has never participated in an established shooting organization, will get a two-for-one special price. Family members and non-competitors will get to participate in the fun events and shoot at much reduced rates.
Mandatory safety meetings will be held throughout the morning, and instructors will be on-hand to teach safety and technique to beginning shooters. A limited number of shotgun rentals and ammunition will be available on site.
Entries to this event are limited to the first 250 shooters who sign up. Online registration is available at http://www.amshootcenters.com/. Registration will be open form 8:00 a.m. to Noon the day of the event; shooting begins at 9:00 a.m.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is partnering with existing programs like the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the Agriculture Science and Outdoor Education curricula, to promote more opportunities for school-aged children to showcase their shooting skills and earn state and national recognition in addition to learning safe firearms handling.
Hall said that outdoors shooting sports instill positive character traits in children such as responsibility and commitment.
Clay shooting "is a lifelong skill that teaches communication and confidence," he said. "It's a skill they can take with them for the rest of their lives for enjoyment or for competition, and it opens the doors to hunting and other outdoor shooting sports."
For more information or to register for the Sept. 6 Texas Youth Super Shoot & Family Fun Festival in Houston, contact American Shooting Centers at (281) 556-8199 or lynn@amshootcenters.com.
Upcoming youth shoots include:
--October 11 -- Hill Country Shooting Sports Center, Kerrville
--November 15 -- Brazos County 4-H Range; Snook

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Aug. 19, 2008
Pronghorn Decline Observed in Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties
ALPINE, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) wildlife biologists recently recorded a considerable drop in the pronghorn antelope population in portions of Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties, although they said overall pronghorn populations in the Trans-Pecos remain only slightly below the 30-year average.
Department biologists annually conduct aerial surveys in June and July throughout West Texas to count pronghorn herds. The resulting data is used to monitor populations and generate harvest quotas for hunting permits issued to private landowners. While conducting surveys this year, biologists noticed significantly fewer animals in certain areas than in previous years.
Subsequent ground-based efforts, including rancher interviews, indicated that there had been a fairly extensive loss of adult pronghorn in the affected counties. Though it is difficult to determine exactly how many individuals might have perished, mortality estimates approach 50 percent of adult pronghorn in the two counties, or in excess of 1,000 animals from more than 500,000 acres of desert grassland habitat.
Biologists said that for some landowners in the affected counties, the mortalities could reduce the number of pronghorn hunting permits issued this fall, but long-term effects will depend on future habitat conditions.
Wildlife disease experts were consulted, but examination of specimens did not indicate an obvious culprit for the mortalities. The specific causes for the loss are not known, but biologists believe several compounding factors probably triggered it.
Much of the affected area received no measurable rainfall for more than seven months from November 2007 to June 2008. The resulting severe range conditions can be especially stressful on pronghorn since they depend on green weedy plants for nutrition, and their ability to move to improved forage conditions is often limited by barriers.
Also, in late spring, a very uncharacteristic hard freeze took place at the higher elevations of West Texas. The drought and late freeze placed the animals in very poor physical condition, and almost certainly prompted the death of adult pronghorn, either to starvation, disease, or ingestion of toxic plants. Additionally, animals in this weakened state are much more prone to predation, and some adults likely were killed by coyotes and bobcats.
Much of the area has received substantial moisture this summer and most of the remaining pronghorn appear to have recovered and are in good physical condition. However, decreased pronghorn reproduction the last two years has amplified the situation, and provided very few replacement animals for these herds.
Pronghorn managers are encouraged to visit with their local TPWD biologist to discuss practices that might mitigate these losses. To find a local wildlife biologist in the Trans-Pecos region, call the Wildlife Division regional office in Alpine at (432) 837-2051.