|  TPWD News Release 20120524b                                            |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
May 24, 2012
$100,000 Coca-Cola Grant Will Go to Park with Most Votes
Public Can Begin Voting Today to Help Bastrop Win $100,000
BASTROP - Bastrop State Park is making a strong comeback after last Labor Day Weekend's horrific wildfire that burned most of the park, but an additional $100,000 would give a huge boost to help this beloved and iconic state park rise from the ashes. That's the top grant in the national "America Is Your Park" competition, to be awarded to the park that receives the most votes during a promotion that ends just before midnight on July 15.
Everyone who loves Bastrop State Park can make a difference by casting a vote at Coca-Cola's www.livepositively.com/parks. And while on the Website be sure to register your FourSquare account so you can earn the park 100 votes simply by "checking in" when you visit the park.
Help spread the "love" for Bastrop State Park by telling your family and friends to vote, too, and by posting the link on your Facebook and your other social media accounts. Remember that you can go online daily to cast your vote for Bastrop State Park up until the deadline.
"While all of our state parks deserve support and would benefit from the $100,000 grant in these times of budget shortfalls," says Texas State Parks director Brent Leisure, "rallying around hard-hit Bastrop State Park will give us the best chance to win the cash to continue restoring the national landmark and the Lost Pines ecosystem. This is a grassroots effort that, to be successful requires, support from not only the Bastrop community, but from park-lovers throughout Texas."
If Bastrop State Park collects the most votes in this third annual national competition, the $100,000 award would be used to keep American YouthWorks members working at the park to advance the recovery of the park's infrastructure and forest landscape, according to Leisure.
The Bastrop State Park voting campaign already is receiving support from both the public and private sectors, including Greater Austin Merchants Association and the City of Bastrop. Campaign sponsor Coca-Cola will also be giving Bastrop State Park $10,000 to fund a trail-building event at the park on June 20 and help spread awareness of the promotion.
Since last year's tragic Labor Day fire that hit 96 percent of the 6,500-acre state park, $262,000 in donations for Bastrop State Park recovery have come from a variety of sources. The donations have helped TPWD initiate a contract with American YouthWorks to assist with restoration efforts that include clearing downed trees and other debris, restoring park trails and constructing hand-hewn pine log bridges.
Despite the destruction of much of its loblolly pine forests, Bastrop State Park is seeing the growth of some vegetation and the return of loyal park customers who are returning to camp, rent a cabin, fish, play golf, picnic and listen for the chirp of the park's endangered Houston toads. Visitors can stay at all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs, and 80 percent of the park trails have been reopened.
Bastrop's Lost Pines wildfire - the most destructive in Texas history - resulted in a three-month closure of the state park, causing serious financial losses for a site that draws 170,000 visitors a year and has an annual $2 million economic impact on Bastrop County.
Coca-Cola collaborated with the National Park Foundation, America's State Parks and the National Recreation & Park Association to develop the grants campaign. Coca-Cola's "Live Positively" initiative also awards a $50,000 and $25,000 grant to the next two runners-up in votes received. In addition, one of the remaining Top 25 vote-getters will be selected in a random drawing to receive a $15,000 grant.
Bastrop Area Flyer (PDF)
Statewide Flyer (PDF)
How To Vote For Bastrop State Park To Win (PDF)