|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2018-09-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than eight months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 18, 2018
Take Me Outdoors Houston Set For September 22 At Discovery Green
Houston's 10th annual free, family-oriented outdoors festival
HOUSTON-- At a time when people in big cities are becoming increasingly disconnected from the world of nature and the outdoors, Take Me Outdoors Houston is hosting its 10th annual free, family-oriented outdoors festival Sept. 22 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Discovery Green.
Exhibitors will provide hands-on activities, booths and opportunities to engage audiences who haven't or don't often get exposure to the outdoors. The activities at the festival focus especially on resources located in Houston's backyard.
"By introducing Texans, especially urban adults and kids, to outdoor recreation, our woods and waters and natural places become more relevant and important to them," said Heidi Rao, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's hunter education specialist in Houston. "We believe recreation leads to conservation. If they're out there enjoying the natural world, they come to care about it and finally to care for it."
Take Me Outdoors Houston will host of a variety of exhibitors offering several different recreation opportunities available within the Houston area. Exhibitors this year include: Texas State Parks; Inland & Coastal Fisheries; Texas Outdoor Family; Angler, Boater, and Hunter Education; and Buffalo Soldiers.
Other exhibitors include: Avian Kingdom; Texas Brigades; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Texas Wildlife Association; Texas Youth Hunting Program; Wetlands Center and Baytown Nature Center; Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center; Buffalo Bayou Partnership; SCI Houston - First for Hunters; Laser Shot Shooting Simulator; National Wild Turkey Federation; and Mule Deer Foundation.
There will also be two educational demonstrations of live hawks and other raptors in flight by master falconer John Karger of "Last Chance Forever - the Birds of Prey Conservancy." Flying demonstrations will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Take Me Outdoors Houston will take place this Saturday at Discovery Green, a 12-acre park created by a public/private partnership between the City of Houston and the non-profit Discovery Green Conservancy. The park's mission is to provide a beautiful, urban green space in the heart of Houston that serves as a village green for the city. It is located across Avenida de las Americas from the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Hilton Americas Hotel, sitting between the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Discovery Green.
For more information about the event, contact Heidi Rao, (713) 829-1377, heidi.rao@tpwd.texas.gov.

[ Note: This item is more than eight months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 18, 2018
Wyler Aerial Tramway Closed to the Public
EL PASO-- After nearly six decades in operation, including many years as the only public tram in Texas, the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park is closed until further notice.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), which has operated the tram for the past 19 years, made the decision to suspend operations following an engineering analysis conducted as part of a deferred maintenance project that was planned to begin later this fall. Despite passing annual inspections, the latest analysis concluded the tram has surpassed its life expectancy and is no longer suited for public use. Out of an abundance of caution, TPWD has closed the tramway while it considers its options.
The Wyler Aerial Tramway was originally designed to provide maintenance access for television transmission towers in the Franklin Mountains until it was donated to TPWD in 1997. The department re-opened it to the public in 2001 following extensive renovation.
The construction of the tram predates the establishment of national tramway standards and, despite its clean record and successful annual inspections, the engineering review conducted this summer recommends that the tramway be updated to meet today's standards, which would require a complete overhaul of the tramway.
Replacement of the tram is estimated to cost millions of dollars. TPWD does not have the financial resources to execute a capital construction project of this size at this time.
Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park features two aerial cable cars that travel over the jagged mountain and rock formations on the east side of the Franklin Mountains to Ranger Peak. From the summit, about 45,000 visitors per year experience a 360-degree view of two countries and three states.