|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-10-22                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six 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, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Bryan Frazier (512) 826-8703, bryan.frazier@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 22, 2010
Even More to Love about Garner State Park
Popular Park Showcases Capital Repair Improvements
CONCAN, TX--Several community, county and state government offices, including area convention and visitor bureaus, county judges, county sheriffs and the Texas House of Representatives, had staff on hand for an open house on Wednesday morning, showcasing the first of almost $4 million in capital repair projects that are under way at Garner State Park.
Garner, which is traditionally one of the most visited state parks in the system, is renowned for its decades of offering access to the clear Frio River, its Civilian Conservation Corp construction and cabins, Hill Country scenic views and the always-popular summertime Garner jukebox dance. And because of the park's popularity--Garner gets literally hundreds of thousands of visitors each year--normal wear and tear and maintenance have taken its toll on this grand park that dates back to the 1930s.
Much of that, however, is being addressed with improvements to park infrastructure like electrical and water systems, and to park facilities such as renovations to restrooms, repairs and upgrades to 17 cabins, and overhauling more than 20 of the park's screened shelters.
"That's the good thing about a day like today; we can point out specifically all the things we're doing that makes folks' experience here better," said State Parks Director Brent Leisure. "This is an investment to not only meet customer demand of today, but also to help preserve a camping heritage at Garner that you really can't find anywhere else."
Improvements at Garner are part of a long list of $44 million in statewide repairs slated for more than 40 state parks across Texas, reflecting voter-approved and legislative-appropriated monies from recent bienniums.
For more information on Garner State Park, call (830) 232-6132, or visit the Web site at www.texasstateparks.org.

[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Oct. 22, 2010
Rare Sighting of Mexican Long-tongued Bat
AUSTIN-Something batty is going on in Dripping Springs, and just in time for Halloween.
When Jim Yastic stepped out on his porch October 17, he noticed a bat roosting on the house. Yantis, a nature lover, said he quickly noticed something different about this bat.
"His head reminded me of a dog's head," Yantis said. "I knew it was a special bat so I took pictures of it. When it got dark that Sunday, I caught it flying off behind me."
Yantis' speculation about the creature's unique nature was correct. It turned out to be a male Mexican long-tongued bat, a species that has only been documented four times in Texas.
"I'm sure this is a new species record for Hays County," said Diana Foss, an Urban Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Foss, also a member of the Houston Bat Team, said it is unusual to spot this type of bat in Texas.
"The long nose marks it as a nectivore and not an insect eater like most of the other 31 bat species found in Texas," Foss said.
She said this particular species is thought to follow agave blooms north.
"This one may have found some convenient agave blooms near Mr. Yantis' home," Foss said.
The only record of the Mexican long-tongued bat in the state prior to 2000 was in Hidalgo County. These bats have been found in Cameron County and Midland since that time, and were spotted in El Paso three years ago.
Bats are noted for their insect-eating habits. These tendencies are significant because they keep the moths that impact grain supplies under control. A good number of bat species are nectivores in the tropics, and important plant pollinators.
Bob Locke of Bat Conservation International said the Mexican long-tongued bat is not only a significant pollinator of agave, but of some cacti from Arizona and New Mexico south into Venezuela.
They tend to be small colony roosting species, usually found in small groups along crevices, Locke said.
"Their name comes from their tongue, which can be 1/3 the length of their body," Locke said.
The bat was found dead late the morning of October 18. The specimen will be kept at the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
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