|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-11-19                                    |
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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 ] [TH]
Nov. 19, 2012
New Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Plots Future for Parks, Healthy Lifestyles
Besides Recommendations, Plan Compiles Research on Health, Economics, Texas' Future
AUSTIN - The latest Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan calls for more trails and greenways to encourage active lifestyles, new parks in or near urban areas, better access to public waters, and a review of local park grant rules to make the most of limited dollars, among other recommendations. Besides ways to improve, the plan is chock full of interesting research findings pulled from many sources.
The plan ticks off a sobering list of challenges facing the Lone Star State, including how it's a predominately urban society where children are becoming less connected to nature and the outdoors. Partly because of this increasingly "indoor" culture, obesity and health care costs are on the rise statewide. And, like the rest of America, Texas is recovering from the biggest recession since the Great Depression, creating budget challenges for public funds. Plus, the state has been rocked by natural disasters such as record drought and wildfires, and water resources are becoming strained.
However, the plan points hopefully to a body of research that makes the case for investing in outdoor recreation and parks solutions. For example, a key finding in a review of more than 200 research studies by the American Heart Association in 2011 was that every $1 spent on building biking trails and walking paths would save an estimated nearly $3 in medical expenses. (Trust for America's Health, 2012)
The values of wetlands and native prairies to filter water and prevent flooding are becoming better known, but what about the importance of trees and green space for air quality? The plan notes that in the United States, urban park trees remove over 75,000 tons of air pollution annually, with a value of $500 million. (Nowak, et al., 2010)
And what about putting a value on quality of life? The plan states "There is a well-documented scientific connection between access to outdoor recreation and positive physical health. Direct access to green space and parkland has been shown to correlate with improved cognitive function, increased self-esteem and better self-discipline, decreased levels of depression, lower stress levels, reduced cases of obesity, and an increased sense of community and belonging."
The plan also cites research showing parks are significant generators of economic activity. For example, the economic impact on sales for Goose Island State Park in Aransas County was estimated to be over $7 million with almost 200 jobs created in 2006. (Crompton & Culpepper, 2006). The total economic impact reported for local (city and county) parks in the same year was a massive $5.51 billion in spending and 38,390 jobs created statewide. (The Perryman Group, 2006).
The Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan must be updated every five years for the state to be eligible for continued funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a vital source to create and enhance local, state and national parks.
Anyone can read the full plan on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
On the Net:

[ 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 ]
Nov. 19, 2012
Winter Trout Stocking Program Locations Announced
AUSTIN - For an inexpensive, entry-level fishing experience the entire family can enjoy, it doesn't get much easier than winter rainbow trout fishing in Texas.
Beginning in December and continuing through March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will stock upwards of 250,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at more than 100 sites across the state. Many of the fish stockings will be conducted at small community fishing lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces offering easy angling access.
Locations such as Beal Park Lake in Midland, Eisenhower Park Pond in Houston, and Waldron Park in Corpus Christi will be stocked this winter.
TPWD has been stocking rainbow trout in small urban lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces each winter since the 1970s, providing Texans a simple and economical opportunity to go fishing.
The program occurs in the winter due to the cooler water temperatures in Texas water bodies the fish require to survive.
Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for both novice anglers and kids. The fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits, from whole kernel canned corn or commercial soft bait to artificial flies and even small spinnerbaits.
"It is important for anglers to understand that the posted schedule is tentative and is subject to change due weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances," said Todd Engeling, TPWD hatchery program director. "It is always best to check the web site before heading out to one of the stocking sites."
For more information about the winter trout fishing program, including tips and the 2012-2013 trout stocking schedule listed by city or county visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/management/stocking/trout_stocking.phtml.