|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-04-29                                    |
|  This page contains only plain text, no HTML formatting codes.          |
|  It is not designed for display in a browser but for copying            |
|  and editing in whatever software you use to lay out pages.             |
|  To copy the text into an editing program:                              |
|    --Display this page in your browser.                                 |
|    --Select all.                                                        |
|    --Copy.                                                              |
|    --Paste in a document in your editing program.                       |
|  If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send            |
|  an e-mail to webtech@tpwd.state.tx.us and mention Plain Text Pages.    |

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Shelly Plante, TPWD nature tourism coordinator, (512) 389-4500 or shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2010
Village Creek Paddling Trail to Debut May 11
Public Invited to Texas Travel Rally Day Event
LUMBERTON -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will join with the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy and local communities to christen the latest Texas Paddling Trail. The 10:30 a.m. event at Village Creek State Park is one of numerous events commemorating Texas Travel Rally Day being celebrated statewide on May 11.
Village Creek State Park marks the end of the 21-mile paddling trail that begins at FM 418 and includes four access points as it snakes through an ecologically diverse riparian corridor within the Big Thicket. It is the 19th trail in the Texas Paddling Trail program that launched in 1998 with the first Texas coastal trail. More than a dozen more paddling trails are scheduled to open this year.
"In terms of popularity, paddling may very well become the birding of the 21st century," says Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's executive director. "The creation of paddling trails serves as one more way to encourage people to get outdoors and travel our great state, and in the process, stimulate local economies with tourism dollars. The bottom line is that travel matters to all Texans."
Smith is one of a handful of local and state dignitaries, including Rep. Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton (R-Mauriceville), slated to attend the May 11 trail launch. Community partners include the Big Thicket National Preserve, Village Creek State Park, The Nature Conservancy and the Kountze, Lumberton and Silsbee chambers of commerce.
The Village Creek Paddling Trail launch is one of more than a dozen tourism events being held in cities throughout the state to celebrate Texas Travel and Tourism Week, May 8-16, which coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week. The events call attention to the importance of travel and tourism in Texas, an industry that in 2008 generated $60 billion in travel spending and supported 544,400 jobs. That same year, visitors to Hardin County where Village Creek State Park is located, spent $676 million, according to The Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.
Paddlers along Village Creek's wooded, riparian corridor will discover why the Big Thicket area is known as the "Biological Crossroads of America." It contains more species of plants and animals than any similar-sized area in North America. Canoeing or kayaking Village Creek, with its sugar-white sandbars, provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to fish, swim, picnic and camp, as well as observe and photograph wildlife in a serene, primordial setting.
The Texas Paddling Trails program helps promote habitat conservation through sustainable economic development, while providing additional recreational opportunities to the public. More Americans paddle (canoe, kayak or raft) than play soccer, making it one of the fastest-growing nature tourism experiences.
Note to Media: Following the 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, reporters and photographers are invited to paddle a short segment of the Village Creek Paddling Trail. To reserve a complimentary canoe and life jacket, contact Tammy Melvin, Lumberton Chamber of Commerce, at (409) 755-0554, or e-mail: tammy@lumbertoncoc.com.

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Scott Stover (512) 389-4849 or scott.stover@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2010
Palo Duro Canyon State Park Honoring History While Opening Doors
CANYON -- Spectacular, rugged and starkly beautiful, Palo Duro Canyon State Park has always been a worthy Texas bragging point. To make sure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the canyon's scenic splendor, early this summer Texas Parks and Wildlife begins making more of this 76-year-old park current with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2011.
"There are accessibility issues that have to be conquered to give everybody the same access," says Park Superintendent Randy Ferris.
Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, Texas Parks and Wildlife is repairing and renovating several Palo Duro Canyon facilities to make them ADA compliant.
At the same time, TPWD is protecting the historical integrity of park structures. At the park headquarters, that is a particular challenge because it was built by the legendary Civilian Conservation Corps. Six CCC companies labored from 1933 to 1937 to build the park. Their work is carefully protected by the Texas Historical Commission and other entities.
"The main part of the building is a CCC-era structure," says project manager Ronny Gallagher. "There are two restrooms in the headquarters that are extremely small but are in that older, historic area."
The building also has a newer section, built in the CCC style but only about 40 years old. That section will be renovated so people in wheelchairs can easily access the building. The headquarters service counter also will be made accessible. But the historic area's small restrooms defied being altered without destroying their original character.
"So we are taking another building that is adjacent, a CCC building that was used to house a water tank," Gallagher says. That structure had the space to alter it without destroying its historic nature. "We are going to modify that tank and put restrooms inside there."
The more than $600,000 in improvements at Palo Duro Canyon are part of a long list of major Texas State Parks rejuvenation projects underway this year, all aimed at keeping the parks fun, safe and customer friendly. Texas State Parks general obligation bonds have been sold to fund more than $44 million in repairs and renovations to park cabins, bathrooms, electrical and water systems, and other state park infrastructure. Along with fixing up more than 40 state parks, the bonds provide an additional $25 million to dry berth the Battleship Texas.
Another ADA restroom update will be done in Palo Duro Canyon's Chinaberry Day Use Area. The walls of that non-CCC structure will be moved outward several feet to provide adequate wheelchair turnaround room inside, and the doors will be widened. Chinaberry also gets ADA-compliant pathways from the parking area to picnic pads and the restroom.
More upgrades will be made at the Sagebrush Camp Area, where three campsites will be brought up to ADA compliance.
"We are going to be doing some elevation work, some grading, adjusting the picnic pad to make sure it's the right size and allow easy access from the camper to the pad," Gallagher says. "And we will put an ADA walkway between those campsites to the restrooms."
Palo Duro Canyon is indisputably one of Texas' most spectacular state parks. It is often called the "Grand Canyon of Texas," although the experience, for many guests, is more intimate than visiting the national icon. The Grand Canyon is so vast, deep and challenging that most visitors see it only from the rim. A visit to Palo Duro Canyon State Park means driving -- using a road originally built more than 70 years ago by the CCC -- down the canyon wall and right into the heart of the canyon.
Ferris says it is the amazing contrast of the canyon with the surrounding landscape that most enthralls people. "You've driven across the Panhandle's flat farmland and ranch land. Then all of a sudden you've got the second largest canyon system in the United States."
The park features numerous examples of CCC handicraft. The visitor's center, originally the Coronado Lodge, was one of the first structures. Others, Ferris says, include the Rim Cabins and the Cow Camp Cabins. The latter were built as open air shelters and later modified into cabins using the CCC design. The CCC boys also constructed a number of the park's bridges and picnic areas.
The almost 30,000-acre park also boasts great geologic and military history. It took 250 million years of water erosion to carve out the 120-mile long, 800 feet-deep canyon (not all in the park). That story is revealed by the layers of rock exposed as the canyon deepened. The presence of iron causes the distinctive rust red of the Quartermaster formation, the lowest and oldest layer seen in most areas of the park.
One wonders if all this beauty was appreciated by the combatants -- soldiers and Indians -- in the month-long Red River Wars of 1874, which essentially ended the lifestyle of Plains Indians. The final battle of that war took place in and around the canyon, climaxing with the capture and destruction of the food and horses of the remaining Native American resistance.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park attracted about 277,000 visitors last year with its potent combination of scenery, camping, hiking, cabins, equestrian rentals and great diversity of plants and wildlife. It is located in the Texas Panhandle, 14 miles east of Canyon and 30 miles south of Amarillo.
Watch the official Palo Duro Canyon State Park video on YouTube:
For more information, call the park at 806/488-2227, or visit the official website: http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/findadest/parks/palo_duro/

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Maria Araujo (512) 389-4901, maria.araujo@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2010
Texas State Parks, TPWD Programs Show "Life's Better Outside"
This summer, enjoy with your family the preparations for hunting season. Many Texans think that the season opens in November with deer hunting, but dove hunting opens in September. And following these tips, hunting season preparations can be fun for the entire family.
--Get your Hunter Education certification. This is required of all hunters born after September 1, 1971, when they turn 17 years old. Youth can be certified as early as 9 years of age. The classes are so convivial that some participants have made friends and formed hunting clubs.
--Learn or review in the course topics such as firearm safety, hunting ethics and regulations, the Public Hunting Program, and gear and field survival skills.
--Visit your local hunting gear store, see the latest in equipment, and compare prices. Expert store personnel are always ready to help customers make the best purchase.
--Practice to improve accuracy with the same equipment and ammunition you plan to use. Consult the Internet or phone book to find the nearest shooting range or rifle club. Friendly competition is a healthy way to improve shooting skills.
--Visit the place where you will hunt so that you can start scouting the site and the animals' tracks and movements. If you do not have a site to hunt yet, buy the Annual Public Hunting Permit for $48 and get access to over 200 hunting areas throughout the state. Family members under 17 years of age can hunt with the permit holder. Persons 17 years or older who do not wish to hunt can have access to the same areas with the Limited Public Use Permit for $12. Since these annual permits are valid from September 1 through August 31, the Limited Public Use Permit is a good buy to explore the hunting sites from now through August 31. It can be purchased in the stores that sell hunting licenses.
--Buy your hunting license beginning August 15 and take advantage of it as soon as dove hunting opens in September. With the Public Hunting Permit, you will find many dove hunting sites near urban areas.
Obtain more information at: http://tpwd.texas.gov/learning/hunter_education/ or call Tel. 512-389-8142 (in Austin); toll free (800)792-1112 ext. 8142.
On the Net:
This release in Spanish: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20100429d

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Maria Araujo (512) 389-4901, maria.araujo@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2010
Los Parques y Programas de TPWD: "La Vida es Mejor al Aire Libre"
Este verano, disfrute con su familia preparándose para la temporada de cacería. Muchos Texanos creen que la temporada se inicia en noviembre con la cacería de venado, pero la cacería de paloma comienza en septiembre. Y siguiendo los consejos a continuación, los preparativos para la temporada de caza pueden ser una diversión en si para toda la familia.
--Obtenga su certificación de Educación y Seguridad en la Caza, la cual se requisito para todo cazador nacido después del 1ero de septiembre de 1971 al cumplir 17 años de edad. Los jóvenes pueden certificarse desde los 9 años de edad. Las clases son tan amenas que algunos participantes terminan haciendo amistad y participando en grupos de caza.
--Aprenda o repase en el curso temas tales como el manejo seguro de armas de fuego, el reglamento y la ética de caza deportiva, el Programa de Cacería en Áreas Públicas, equipo de campo y técnicas de supervivencia en el campo.
--Visite su tienda local de equipo de cacería, vea lo último en equipo y compare precios. Personal experto en estas tiendas siempre están listos para ayudar al cliente a hacer la mejor compra.
--Practique para mejorar su puntería, usando el mismo equipo y munición con el que va a cazar. Consulte el Internet o directorio de teléfono para localizar un campo de tiro (shooting range) o club (rifle club) cercano. La competencia amistosa es saludable para mejorar habilidades de tiro.
--Visite el lugar donde va cazar para ir explorando el terreno y las huellas y los movimientos de los animales. Si no tiene un sitio donde cazar, compre el Permiso Anual para Cazar en Áreas Públicas (Annual Public Hunting Permit) de $48 y obtenga acceso a más de 200 áreas de caza a través del estado. Familiares menores de 17 años que lo acompañen pueden cazar con el mismo permiso. Personas de 17 años de edad o mayores que no deseen cazar, pueden tener acceso a las mismas áreas con el Permiso Limitado de Uso Público de $12. Como estos permisos anuales son válidos del 1ero de septiembre al 31 de agosto, el Permiso Limitado es una buena inversión para explorar los sitios de caza hasta este 31 de agosto. Adquiera el Permiso Anual en los mismos negocios que venden la licencia de caza.
--Compre su licencia de caza a partir del 15 de agosto y aprovéchela en cuanto se abra la cacería de paloma en septiembre. Con el Permiso Anual para Cazar en Áreas Públicas, encontrará un gran número de sitios de caza de paloma cerca de las áreas urbanas.
Obtenga más información en: tpwd.texas.gov/learning/hunter_education/espanol/index.phtml o llame al Tel. 512-389-4901 (en Austin) o sin cobro (800)792-1112 ext. 4901.
On the Net:
This release in English: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20100429c