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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-08-21                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Aug. 21, 2008
Texas Waterfowl Seasons Finalized with No Changes
HOUSTON -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted waterfowl regulations for 2008-09 with no changes, but hinted next year's process could see significant alterations.
Texas waterfowl hunters will once again have the Hunter's Choice bag limit and a 74-day season in the North and South Duck Zones, and 89 days in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit.
This season will mark the third and final offering of the experimental Hunter's Choice, which allows hunters to shoot five ducks daily, but only one in the aggregate of certain species. In the aggregate category, that one bird could be either a pintail, or a canvasback, or a "dusky duck" (mottled, black duck or Mexican-like duck) or a hen mallard.
Texas waterfowl hunting seasons for 2008-09 are as follows:
(Shooting Hours: one-half hour before sunrise to sunset)
Ducks
Duck Daily Bag Limit: The daily bag limit shall be 5 ducks with the following species and sex restrictions -- 2 scaup, 2 redhead, 2 wood duck; only 1 from the following aggregate bag: 1 hen mallard, or 1 pintail, or 1 canvasback, or 1 dusky duck (mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids), all other ducks not listed -- 5. Merganser Daily Bag Limit: 5 in the aggregate, to include no more than 2 hooded mergansers. Possession Limit: Twice the daily bag limit.
High Plains Mallard Management Unit
Youth -- Oct. 18-19, 2008
Regular Gun -- Oct. 25-26, 2008; Oct. 31, 2008-Jan. 25, 2009
No extended falconry season in the HPMMU
North Zone
Youth -- Oct. 25-26, 2008
Regular Gun -- Nov. 1-30, 2008; Dec. 13, 2008-Jan. 25, 2009
Extended Falconry Season- Jan. 26-Feb. 9, 2009
South Zone
Youth -- Oct. 25-26, 2008
Regular Gun -- Nov. 1-30, 2008; Dec. 13, 2008-Jan. 25, 2009
Extended Falconry Season- Jan. 26-Feb. 9, 2009
Goose Season and Bag Limit Including The Light Goose Conservation Order
Possession Limit: Twice the daily bag limit for dark geese, no possession limit for light geese.
Western Goose Zone
Western Zone Daily Bag Limit: Light geese -- 20 in the aggregate; Dark geese -- 4 Canada and 1 white-fronted goose.
Light and Dark Geese -- Nov. 8, 2008-Feb. 8, 2009
Light Geese (Conservation Order) -- Feb. 9, 2009-March 29, 2009
Eastern Goose Zone
Eastern Zone Daily Bag Limit: Light geese -- 20 in the aggregate; Dark geese -- 3 Canada geese and 2 white-fronted geese.
Light geese and Canada geese -- Nov. 1, 2008-Jan. 25, 2009.
White-fronted geese -- Nov. 1, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009;
Light geese (Conservation Order) -- Jan. 26-Mar. 29, 2009
Sandhill Crane
Zone A -- Nov. 8, 2008-Feb. 8, 2009 -- Bag Limits: 3 daily, 6 in possession
Zone B -- Nov. 28, 2008-Feb. 8, 2009 -- Bag Limits: 3 daily, 6 in possession
Zone C -- Dec. 20, 2008-Jan. 25, 2009 -- Bag Limits: 2 daily, 4 in possession
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 21, 2008
TPWD Continues Park Upgrades, Faces Increased Costs in 2009 Budget
HOUSTON -- Texans will continue to see benefits in 2009 from significant new funding for state and local parks, as well as new money to build a new East Texas fish hatchery and to help game wardens enforce wildlife laws and border security, all part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2009 budget.
"We're in the second half of a biennium in which we received significant increased funding from the legislature," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "In 2009, we plan to continue implementing better fiscal controls, capital construction initiatives, increased minor repairs and increased operating dollars for state parks, as directed by the legislature.
"We were extremely pleased in 2008 that we've been able to improve our state park facilities and public opportunities at a time when high gasoline prices had families seeking lower-cost summer vacation options closer to home," Smith added. "In 2009, we'll start a new round of big-ticket bond repair projects, and that will leave a mark of improvement on our state that will be felt for generations to come. One of our biggest challenges as an agency in 2009 will be to continue to deliver conservation services in the face of steep cost increases for fuel and commodities."
Department financial experts estimate the cost of fuel for boats and vehicles increased by 44 percent in fiscal years 2007 and 2008, threatening to hamstring a highly mobile work force of game wardens, fisheries and wildlife biologists and parks employees. That has been addressed in part by increased conservation, including purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as employees not driving as much in some cases.
The high price of oil and other energy-related issues are affecting TPWD in many ways, from fuel for vehicles to fish feeds for state hatcheries. Fish feed costs have gone up 40 percent in the last two years, due in part to higher corn product prices driven by the shift to ethanol production.
Like all state agencies, TPWD gets authorization to spend money in the form of appropriations from the Texas Legislature. Appropriations come in two-year increments, and 2009 is the second half of the state's 2008-2009 biennium, so much of TPWD's financial profile is similar to last year.
The fiscal year 2009 capital and operating budget approved Aug. 21 by the TPW Commission totals $402.9 million, about the same as the previous year's $405.8 million. The 2009 budget includes 272.6 million for salaries, related benefits and operating expenses, $21.6 million for grants, $101.1 million for capital projects and $7.6 million for bond debt service.
In 2007, the budget totaled $295 million, including $223.5 million for salaries, related benefits and operating, $12.6 million for grants, $52.4 million for capital projects and $6.5 million for bond debt service.
Increased park funding continues to be a primary feature of the department's financial picture in 2009. The budget features the second year of an additional $15.8 million above 2007 levels for state park operating expenses and increased staffing. It also includes continued increases for park minor repairs and new staff and systems for improved financial accounting and auditing.
In the last legislative session, lawmakers also authorized additional funding for park land acquisition. In 2009, that includes $4.3 million to be spent for specific purposes at state parks like Palo Duro Canyon and Franklin Mountains, as directed by legislative riders. It also includes $9.3 million from the sale of TPWD's Eagle Mountain Lake property near Forth Worth, which is earmarked to acquire and develop a new state park in North Texas.
The 2009 budget also includes $9.55 million in additional funding for local park grants TPWD awards across the state to cities, counties and other partners. In the last session, the legislature essentially restored this grants program, which for many decades has helped build or improve hundreds of city and county parks in all parts of Texas.
There is also an additional $7.4 million in freshwater fishing stamp funds to build a new East Texas fish hatchery in Jasper, with a groundbreaking for this project set for Aug. 27.
The 2009 budget includes an additional close to $850,000 for game warden operations connected with border security, a continuation of a new effort begun in 2008. It also includes an additional $1 million in state general revenue for game warden operations statewide. The budget will make possible a new Law Enforcement Division office in Laredo, to better coordinate and support South Texas and border enforcement.
New bond funding for major state park repairs is another big element of the 2009 budget, reflecting support not only from legislators but also from Texas voters who approved the Proposition 4 bond package in 2007. The 2009 budget includes $69.1 million in voter-approved bond funds for state park major repairs and improvements. That includes $25 million for the Battleship TEXAS and $44.1 million to fund dozens of state park critical repair projects set to start construction all across the state in mid-to-late 2009.
Earlier this month, the department's Infrastructure Division garnered a record number of responses from design firms vying to plan bond-funded repair projects. By Nov. 25, the department expects to award design contracts. Meanwhile, the department will issue a solicitation for construction services Sep. 24.
The traditional sequence for such work is design-bid-build, but TPWD is implementing an innovative approach in which designers and builders will be hired separately, but will then collaborate together to refine plans before work begins. The upshot should be better cost estimates, and jobs that are completed quicker and with less disruption to park visitors once work begins.
The department's bond repair plans got a major vote of confidence from an outside consultant earlier this year. Rider 30 in the recent legislative session required a private vendor to study whether TPWD's proposed major repair projects will increase park attendance and/or generate additional revenue to cover costs. The consultant team of Fisher Heck Architects and Pros Consulting briefed TPW Commissioners on key findings, which were also shared with various state leaders, including offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, TPWD's oversight committee chairs, the State Auditor's Office and Legislative Budget Board.
The consultants found that the 40 parks slated for proposed capital projects hosted approximately 54 percent of all state park visitation. They said 37 percent of the repair and improvement projects will likely increase attendance and revenue, and that 40 percent will not likely increase attendance but are necessary to maintain current visitation. They pointed out that a number of projects were required to meet federal and state regulatory requirements, such as access for people with disabilities, and that others were needed to safeguard structures with historic value.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 21, 2008
TPW Commission Awards $10 Million in Local Park Grants across Texas
HOUSTON -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Aug. 21 approved $10 million in competitive parks and recreation grants for city and county parks and other sites across the state. Grant project descriptions are listed by county below.
Dallas, Travis County, San Antonio and Houston were each awarded $1 million from TPWD's Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants program. Houston was also awarded $1 million from TPWD's Indoor Recreation Grants program.
Urban Outdoor and Indoor recreation grants are reserved for communities with populations of 500,000 or more, and both provide matching grants of up to $1 million. Urban Outdoor grants are used to acquire and develop parkland. Urban Indoor grants are for constructing public recreation centers, community centers and nature centers. Once a grant is awarded, recipients must permanently designate the site for public recreational use and agree to operate and maintain the grounds.
Eight other communities across the state were awarded a combined $2.9 million in grants from TPWD's Outdoor Recreation Grants program, which funds acquisition and/or development of outdoor recreation sites for communities with populations less than 500,000.
Seventeen communities were awarded a total of about $760,000 from TPWD's Small Community Grants program. This program provides matching grants of up to $50,000 for communities with a population of 20,000 or less.
These grants support the acquisition, development and beautification of city parks, seen as the "frontline" in the nationwide system of parks. TPWD funds can be applied to the construction and repair of trails, ball fields, fishing, boating or hunting facilities, picnic areas, playgrounds, swimming pools, camp grounds, gardens and other recreational facilities.
The Small Community, Urban Indoor, and Urban Outdoor grants are funded exclusively from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account, created by the Texas Legislature in 1993 to help cities and counties provide public recreation facilities. TRPA revenue comes from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods.
Outdoor Recreation Grants are funded from the TRPA and from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by offshore oil and gas royalties. All are 50-50 matching grants, requiring recipients to provide equal dollars to match what the state provides.
For more information, including grant application forms and deadlines, see TPWD's Grants Web page or phone the department's Recreation Grants Branch at (512) 912-7124 or e-mail rec.grants@tpwd.texas.gov.
List of grants and projects by county:
Bexar County -- The City of San Antonio was awarded a $1-million grant to develop the 311-acre Max and Minnie Voelcker Park in the north-central portion of the city. Developments will include outdoor-education classrooms and pavilion, trails, overlooks, grove planting, a multipurpose recreation field, picnic units, Oak Savannah and grasslands restoration, interpretive signs, drinking fountains, trash bins, solar lighting, roads, paring and project signs.
The City of Helotes was awarded a $50,000 grant to go toward the development Parrigin Playground. The city requested support to develop three acres of city-owned non-parkland as a public park, and funding will also be used to build a playground, fencing and landscaping.
Coryell County -- The City of Gatesville was awarded $50,000 to further develop Raby Park. Planned developments include a splash pad, gazebo, Xeriscape garden and the conversion of a bathhouse into a game room.
Dallas County -- The City of Dallas was awarded $1 million to acquire 28.5 acres of land to develop approximately 138 acres into the Elm Fork Athletic Complex in the northwest corner of the city. Plans for Elm Fork include soccer fields, a trail and a 28-acre woodland area.
Denton County -- The City of Ponder was awarded a grant in the amount of $50,000 to make improvements to Eddie Duessen Park that include a playground, picnic tables and grills, a pavilion with tables, walkways and restrooms.
The City of Krum was awarded $39,500 that will be used toward the further development of the city's 19.8-acre city park. The proposed improvements include work on a lighted trail, horseshoe and washer pits, game tables, a climbing wall/boulder area, picnic tables, playground, a butterfly-and-hummingbird garden with interpretive signs, tree planting with interpretive signs, renovation of basketball and volleyball courts and the soccer and football fields, baseball dugouts, scoreboards and the irrigation system.
Ellis County -- The City of Garrett was awarded $34, 286 to acquire 0.17 acres to develop a new city park in the central area of the city. Plans for the park include the construction of a playground, pavilion, a trail, a basketball half court, picnic tables with grills, games tables, benches, a butterfly garden with interpretive signs and a rain barrel collection system.
Franklin County - The County was awarded a $50,000 grant to develop a Recreational Sports Complex north of Mount Vernon. Development includes the construction of ball fields, a horseshoe- and washer-pitching area, game tables, a playground, picnic tables and the planting of more trees.
Gregg County - The City of Kilgore was awarded a $50,000 grant to develop Synergy Park practice fields, a collection of sporting fields for football, soccer, baseball and softball in northeast Kilgore. The grant will also go toward building picnic tables, a pavilion with tables and grills, a playground, a washer pit and to purchasing trail-wellness equipment.
Harris -- Montgomery Counties -- The City of Houston was awarded a $1 million grant to support the development of a 13,000 square-feet community center in Sagemont Park on the city's southeast side. The proposal includes a multipurpose gymnasium, a classroom, an arts-and-crafts room, a kitchen, a restroom, an office, and storage and mechanical rooms. The City will also receive $1 million for improvements to Herman Brown Park on the city's east side. Improvements will include trails with footbridges, decks, picnic shelters and tables, benches, a playground, soccer fields, pond improvements, utilities, roads and parking, landscaping, signs and renovating the irrigation system.
Harris and Montgomery Counties were awarded $500,000 to acquire 9.4 acres of land to create a community park in the central southwest area of the Village of Sterling Ridge. The park proposal includes trails, a basketball court, a playground, open play area, benches, picnic tables, a 3.75-acre natural area, overlooks and boardwalks, bridges and signs.
Harris County will also receive $500,000 to acquire 36 acres of land and to develop the 12-acre Highland Glen-North Hills Park located in northern Harris County near Spring. The proposal includes trails, a skateboard park, a playground, a canoe launch, overlooks, picnic tables, benches, a pavilion, a soccer field, a 4-acre wetland dedication, a wetlands interpretive area, roads and parking, a restroom, utilities, fencing and signs.
Hill County -- The City of Hillsboro was awarded a grant for $500,000 to expand its city park. The money will be used to acquire 13 acres of land to expand the existing 20.7-acre park. Eleven acres will be dedicated open space, and additions to the park will include a playground, sprayground, pavilions with picnic tables and grills, trails, picnic units, and an open play area. The city will also renovate the tennis courts, ball field, restroom, parking lot and irrigation system.
The City of Mount Calm was awarded $50,000 to acquire 4.77 acres by donation and 1.04 acres from the school district to expand and further develop its 2.6 acre city park. Improvements include work on the baseball-field lighting, bleachers, scoreboard, playscape, a trail, wildlife planting and shade trees.
Kleberg County -- Kleberg County was awarded $46,178 for the renovation of the 7.9-acre Riviera County Park, located in Riviera, a community in the central area of the county. The county will also make improvements on its basketball court and baseball field, picnic tables, playground and butterfly garden.
Medina County -- The City of Devine was awarded $20,000 to develop 0.8 acres of city-owned non-parkland in the city's south-central area. The money will also go toward developing a Xeriscape garden with interpretive signs, picnic tables and grills, a playground, benches and a trail.
Montgomery County -- The City of Magnolia was awarded $415,400 to be used toward the acquisition of 29.9 acres of land and to develop 7 acres for a city park in the central-southwest area of Magnolia. The park proposal includes trails, pond and habitat restoration, a boardwalk with a fishing extension, a playground, picnic tables, a pavilion with a grill, an amphitheater, interpretive exhibit, tree planting and signs.
Nueces County -- The City of Corpus Christi was awarded $500,000 to acquire 28 acres to expand and develop a 61.5-acre park located in the southeast area of Oso Bay. The developments include an interpretive nature trail, an amphitheater, a camping area, teaching gardens, a picnic area with shade and bike racks, habitat enhancement, wetland enhancements with an overlook, beach and swimming access, open-space area and enhancements, a filtration pond and landscaping.
The County will also receive $500,000 to develop 17 acres of land in the Banquete Colonia into a community park. The plans for the park include a Little League field, a softball field, picnic facilities, a trail with exercise stations, sheltered benches, swings, a playscape, a multipurpose basketball court and field, lighting for existing baseball fields, a pavilion, a 2-acre nature preserve and a pond with a pier. The money will also aid in the renovation of restrooms and concession stands and a bird blind as well as the addition of Xeriscape landscaping and improved parking areas.
Rains County -- The City of Point was awarded $50,000 to acquire 1.5 acres of land to develop a city park. Plans for the park include a playground, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, benches, picnic tables and grills, trails, landscaping, parking and relocation of overhead utilities.
Reeves County -- Reeves County was awarded $500,000 to acquire 80 acres of land to provide a park and expand the Pecos golf course, located in south Pecos. The proposal includes the dedication of 2 acres for a natural area, the addition of four holes and a putting green, sheltered picnic units, a multipurpose trail with exercise stations, sheltered benches and a multipurpose court.
The City of Toyah was awarded $50,000 to develop 5 acres of city-owned non-parkland to create a city park. The park will include a playground, a trail with exercise stations, picnic tables with grills, a pavilion with a group grill, landscaping with trees and interpretive signs.
Rusk County -- The City of Henderson was awarded $500,000 to acquire 15.7 acres of land to expand and develop 19-acre Fair Park in the south-central area of the city. The park will include multi-use concrete trails with historic interpretive signs and exercise stations, a plaza, a pavilion with picnic tables and grills, a sprayground, a washer court, an open play area and a skate park. Other improvement include the renovation of the tennis courts, tree planting and infrastructure construction such as parking areas and roads.
San Patricio County -- City of Aransas Pass was awarded $50,000 to replace deteriorated baseball field lighting in the Community Park.
Smith County -- The City of Van was awarded $50,000 to develop 20 acres of the 166-acre City Lake RV Park located in the western area of Smith County at the city lake. The additions include paved RV campsites with picnic tables and grill and electrical hook-ups, an art enclave, horseshoe pits, archery range, fitness stations and gardens.
Travis County -- Travis County was awarded $1 million to acquire 27.5 acres of land to expand and develop the 779-acre Milton Reimers Ranch Park, located on the Pedernales River in the southwest part of the county. Additions include hike and bike trails, scenic overlooks, a bird tower, a mountain bike-pump rack, a pavilion, a courtyard, shade shelters, picnic tables, benches, fishing nodes, recycling stations, tree restoration and plantings, a history kiosk, interpretive signs, a 27.5-acre endangered species preserve, roads, parking and utilities.
Willacy County -- The City of Lyford was awarded $20,000 to make improvements to its city park that includes picnic tables with grills, a playground, a pavilion, butterfly garden and a trail.
Wise County -- The City of Rhome was awarded $50,000 to acquire 0.67 acres to develop a city park that will have picnic tables and grills, benches, a trail with exercise stations, a basketball half court, a playground, Xeriscape landscaping, and a butterfly garden with interpretive signs.
Wood County -- The City of Mineola was awarded $50,000 to further develop its 2,830-acre Preserve-on-the-Sabine, located south of Mineola on the Sabine River. Planned improvements include a 6-acre lake, trail, fishing pier, picnic stations, tree planting and benches.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 21, 2008
TPW Commission Approves $5.3 Million in Recreational Trails Grants
HOUSTON -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Aug. 21 approved a record $5.3 million for 30 National Recreational Trail Grant projects across the state and 10 trail improvement projects in state parks.
The National Recreational Trails Fund comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by the sale of gasoline for use in off-road recreational vehicles such as dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles. Money from the trail fund goes toward the creation and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.
The Federal Highway Administration manages the fund and distributes portions of it to states based on a formula that takes into account the state's population and fuel sales for off-road vehicles. The program allocated $80 million for use nationwide with Texas' share being a little more than $3.7 million.
Because a number of projects in Texas in previous years were finished under budget and two large projects were cancelled, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has another $1.5 million to re-allocate this year. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will utilize $490,000 to fund trail improvements in 10 state parks, leaving in a total of $4.8 million in funding available for eligible trail-construction projects statewide.
More than 70 project proposals were submitted by Texas agencies for funding consideration, and 30 have been recommended for funding for 2008. The Texas Statewide Trails Advisory Board reviewed the proposals and developed a list of recommended projects for funding based on the quality of the project, its cost effectiveness, its impact on recreational trail opportunities and geographic distribution of funds.
List of funded trail-construction projects by county
Angelina County -- The City of Lufkin will receive $59,784 for its Lost Arrow Trail expansion, which will include a 2-mile natural-surface trail with bridges, signs and benches.
Bell County -- The City of Temple received $188,720 for additions to Friar's Creek Nature Trail. Additions include a new 1-mile concrete trail, benches and signs.
Bexar County -- Universal City is the recipient of $49,300 to build a new 0.75-mile granite trail at Gothic & Northview Parks.
White Knuckle Ranch will also receive $40,000 for the construction of a restroom, pavilion, storage building and to acquire a tractor for its Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) facility.
Brazoria County -- The Village of Surfside Beach received $155,996 for the Bluewater Highway Trail, a new 2.7-mile asphalt trail. The grant will also fund the construction of a restroom and a viewing deck.
Brewster County -- The City of Alpine received $175,000 for a new 1.3 concrete trail at Alpine Creek.
Cameron County -- Cameron County Drainage District No. 1 received $200,000 for a project they are sponsoring at Cascade Park that includes the addition of a 1.1-mile granite trail, a boardwalk and benches and a restroom.
Coryell County -- The City of Gatesville received $163,600 for a new 1.5-mile granite trail, a bridge, benches and land acquisition at Faunt LeRoy/Raby Trail.
Crocket County -- The Texas Motorized Trail Coalition sponsored a project at Escondido Draw Recreation Area for the acquisition of 85 acres of land, the build of a water well and renovation of the electrical system. The group received a grant for $205,788 for the project.
Denton County -The City of Corinth received $1888,786 to renovate a 4.46-mile trail, bridges and to create erosion control at Elm Fork.
The City of Denton received $49,500 for the renovation of a pedestrian bridge and approach trail at Lake Forest Park.
Ellis County -- The City of Waxahachie received $200,000 for the MKT Trail. The project proposal includes a new 4.5-mile crushed aggregate trail, fencing and benches.
Fayette County -- The City of La Grange is the recipient of a $161.603 grant for the construction of a new 4-mile natural-and-granite trail system, bridges, gazebos and signs for its Strides for Nature program.
Hamilton County -- The City of Hamilton received $76,742 for the construction of a .61-mile asphalt trail in Pecan Creek Park. The money will also go toward renovating the restrooms, new lights and signs.
Harris County -- The Greater Houston Off-Road Biking Association is sponsoring the Double Lake trail expansion that will include a new 12-mile natural-surface mountain bike trail. The group was granted $120,000 for the project.
Harris County Municipal Utilities District received $200,000 for the construction of a new 1.5-mile asphalt hike-and-bike trail and signs.
Hays County -- The City of San Marcos received a $200,000 grant for a new 1.8-mile granite trail, benches and signs at the Five Mile Dam.
Hidalgo County -- The City of Donna received $280,562 to improve the motocross track, parking areas, fencing and restrooms at Donna OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) Park.
Lamar County -- The City of Paris received $120,000 for the construction of a 0.3-mile extension of a rail-trail, new benches and a bridge at the Trail de Paris West.
Lubbock County -- Lubbock County received $214,456 to improve 16 miles of motorized trails at Buffalo Springs Lake. The money will also go toward restrooms and signs.
McLennan County -- Stephen F. Austin University will receive $104,700 to add to the Hunt's Woods Mountain Biking Trail. The project includes a new 1.3 mile trail that is compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the renovation of a 1.9 miles bike trail and the construction of bridges.
Montgomery County -- The Woodlands Association received a $200,000 grant to build a 1.5-mile natural-surface trail, four creek crossings and to develop signs at George Mitchell Preserve.
Nueces County -- The City of Corpus Christi received $200,000 for build a new 0.75-mile granite trail, a bridge, signs, benches and an overlook at Oso Conservation/Interpretive Park.
Palo Pinto County -- The Brazos River Authority received $121,600 to build a new 5-mile natural surface trail at Possum Kingdom Lake. The money will also go toward adding parking areas, restrooms and signs.
Rockwall County -- Royse City received $128,160 for a project at Walker Haek Trail that includes a new 0.95-mile concrete trail with exercises stations.
Rusk County -- The City of Henderson received $61,440 to build a new .36-mile concrete trail with bridges, lights and signs at Fair Park.
Travis County -- The City of Austin will receive $196,000 to renovate a 9-mile motorized trail, pavilion, fence and signs at Emma Long Park.
The Hill Country Conservancy will receive $200,000 toward its Walk for a Day project that will include the building of a new 5-mile natural surface trail as well as bridges and construction of parking areas and restrooms.
Upshur County -- The Texas Motorized Trail Coalition sponsored a project at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area that includes motorized-trail repair, a tot lot, erosion control, a rock garden and a restroom. The group received a grant of $343,400.
Wood County -- Jarvis Christian College received a $200,000 grant to build a 1.7-mile asphalt trail with signs at the Wetlands Nature Trail.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 21, 2008
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine to Reach 9,000 Schools
AUSTIN, Texas -- This September, Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine will begin a new Keep Texas Wild student section for teachers and families to introduce children to the world of nature and the outdoors. For the next year, magazine issues containing the new section will mail to more than 9,000 schools across the state, thanks to a grant from ExxonMobil and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
Each month, 19,500 copies of the magazine with the four-page Keep Texas Wild section will go to statewide public and private schools. That includes three copies each to elementary schools with fourth grades, one copy to secondary schools, and a copy each to university education departments, the Texas Youth Commission and regional school science coordinators. The section will focus on fourth grade learning standards.
"Because 9-year-olds in fourth grade possess enough mastery of reading skills to pursue more complex subject matter, this is a wonderful age to inspire future hunters, anglers, conservationists, biologists, photographers and nature writers," said Lydia Saldaņa, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department communications director.
The kid-friendly, four-page section will include fun facts presented with a lively writing style, eye-popping photos and a creative, whimsical design. Each topic will be Texas-specific, with special attention to current conservation issues. The section will also include hands-on activities that cross the spectrum of school curricula (such as art, math, science and social studies) and a call to action that encourages students to get outdoors and get involved in hands-on learning.
The theme for the September issue of Keep Texas Wild is predators. The informational goal is to help children understand that predators are not "bad guys," but rather a vital component of the natural world. Upcoming issues will feature bats, Native Americans, animal homes, rare species, animal extremes, wildlife babies, bees and other pollinators, bird migration, turtles, water conservation and snakes.
"ExxonMobil's long history of support for education reflects our commitment to providing students the tools to make balanced choices in a complex world," said Robert Lanyon, ExxonMobil manager of corporate citizenship and community investments. "We are proud to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in engaging kids' interest in our 'wild' environment."
Companion Web pages for Keep Texas Wild will also be available. Teachers or parents can download material in printable PDF format in the "Teacher Tool Kit" resource area on the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine Web site. From the magazine site, those who want to delve deeper can also link to lesson plans, additional activities and supplemental information for students and teachers. Teachers also can sign up to receive monthly e-mails with links to Keep Texas Wild sections.
In late fall, an online survey will be added to gauge success and solicit advice for improvement. Additional classroom copies of the magazine and subscriptions are available to teachers at a discounted price.
The September issue of TPW magazine will be available on newsstands at most major retailers, or anyone can order a copy online. An annual magazine subscription costs $19.95. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393. For information on retail magazine sales, contact Deborah Follien at Deborah.follien@tpwd.texas.gov or (512) 389-8702.
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On the Net:
http://www.tpwmagazine.com
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ] [TH]
Aug. 21, 2008
Grants Awarded for Seven Texas Target Range Projects
HOUSTON -- Professional and recreational sport shooters alike will benefit from $278,000 in matching grants for the construction and renovation of seven target ranges across Texas in Kerr, McLennan, Harris, Cochran, Angelina, Caldwell, Williamson and Smith Counties.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the target-range grants during its Aug. 21 public meeting in Houston. Recipients of the 2009 funding include American Shooting Center, a shooting facility that is one of the most widely used by hunter-education instructors in the Houston area. This center in Harris County has been approved to receive $30,000 in 2009 for the continued development of sporting clays and infrastructure such as parking lots and roads. The site, at the Cullen Barker Reservoir/ George Bush Park in West Houston, has received prior funding of more than $500,000 during the 1980s and 1990s. Hunter-education instructors frequently use the center because of its location near the largest urban center in Texas.
Another grant recipient is Pines Sporting Club in Angelina County near Lufkin. The club sponsors several youth shoots and will serve as a model club for the Scholastic Clays Target Program, a program sponsored by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation that introduces school-aged children to sport shooting and allows them to compete as well as learn safe handling of firearms. Pines Sporting Club was approved to receive $60,000 for enhancements to its shotgun ranges.
Steve Hall, Texas Parks and Wildlife education director said the Pines Sporting Club grant will go a long way in helping the club expand what it has to offer recreational shooters in the hope that it will be able to serve more youth.
"Their range is currently active in providing a place for 4-H Shooting Sports," Hall said. "The number of youths served through this facility-enhancement should more than triple, increasing from 100 4-H members to 350 4-H members and 50 new Scholastic Clay Target participants."
Hall said these numbers should increase further through family memberships, awareness events and shoots, and shooting competitions that the club will host.
Hall said youth shooting sports foster positive character traits in participants and that through efforts such as the target-range grants and outreach events, he hopes the sport continues to grow and reach the level of popularity of school-sponsored sports such as football and basketball.
"Shooting sports are outdoors, wholesome and lifelong activities that promote characteristics such as positive communications, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership," he said. "Shotgun clays is an extracurricular activity and will hopefully, one day, be a school-sponsored activity in Texas."
The grants staff received applications from seven ranges for consideration during fiscal year 2009, and all were recommended for funding. Criteria for rating the applications were revised in August 2007, including a stipulation that accommodates Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's efforts to support various Texas Youth Shooting Sports programs alongside hunter education.
Hall said that providing grant money to legitimate shooting ranges allows the operators to improve and promote their facilities and assist them in being open to public for a long time.
"The encroachment of cities is causing us to lose ranges faster than we can build them," Hall said. "More people want to shoot, but there are fewer places for them to shoot safely."
Hall said factors of urban encroachment that threaten target ranges are population sprawl on once open land, which makes the occasional stray bullet from a shooting range more dangerous, and complaints from nearby residents of the noise from the ranges -- though the traffic on a three-lane residential road is often noisier.
Hall said another challenge that shooting ranges face is the increased cost of items associated with the sport such as ammunition, claybirds and the cost of gasoline for rural residents who have to drive to a more populated area to shoot at a public range.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, administers a target-range grant program to provide funding for qualifying applicants from both the private and public sectors that open their shooting facilities to the public and offer hunter education.
Applicants must provide 25 percent of the total project cost, and the federal grant funds, made available through Texas' "hunter safety apportionment," fulfill the remaining 75 percent. The grants allow recipients to enhance their existing ranges or to build new facilities, including infrastructure, new ranges, storage units and hunter-education classrooms.
Other target range projects that will be funded through the grants include:
Hill Country Shooting Sports Center -- This shooting center near Kerrville received $60,000 in a project grant for the final construction phase of its air-gun range at its USA Shooting and training facility. The facility can be used for archery activities and hunter education.
Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club -- This McLennan County facility west of Waco will receive $30,000 toward the continued development of its pistol and rifle ranges and classroom facilities and the possible construction of a shotgun range. The center was initially approved for construction in 2006, and inspection and initial development was completed in 2008, costing $60,000.
Cochran County 4-H Shooting Sports Range -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $38,000 to this range for the development of its existing rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges, and for possible construction of archery and shotgun ranges at another location. The range is in deep West Texas and offers training and sporting opportunities to recreational shooters who do not live near a major city in the state.
Legacy Gun Club -- This club will receive $30,000 to begin the process of building an indoor rifle, pistol and archery facility as well as an indoor hunter-education classroom. The club, which is just north of Austin, would offer opportunities for shooting and hunter education in an urban center that is generally void of such facilities.
Rose City Flying Clays -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a grant of $30,000 for this range to further develop its shotgun facilities. This range also sponsors youth sport-shooting activities in East Texas.
Grants are available to qualifying applicants from both private and governmental sectors that provide public use and hunter education at their facilities. For more information on Target Range grants, contact Steve Hall at TPWD at (512) 389-4568 or steve.hall@tpwd.texas.gov.
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