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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-05-25                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Shelly Plante, TPWD, (512) 389-4500 or shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov ]
May 25, 2011
Ribbon-cuttings, Site Tours Mark West Texas Wildlife Trail Opening
AUSTIN - Local dignitaries, conservationists and wildlife-watchers will gather at three sites on the new Far West Texas Wildlife Trail the first week in June to celebrate the opening of the ninth and final wildlife-viewing trail in the statewide wildlife trail system that was launched 15 years ago to bolster Texas nature tourism.
Official dedications -- featuring ribbon-cuttings, expert wildlife presentations and naturalist-guided tours of some of the trail's prime wildlife-viewing spots - are scheduled for June 2 at Davis Mountains State Park in Fort Davis, June 3 at Monahans Sandhills State Park and June 4 at Keystone Heritage Park in El Paso. Trail launch events coincide with National Trails Day, Saturday, June 4.
The final addition to the Great Texas Wildlife Trail system spans the vast reaches of West Texas - from El Paso to the Permian Basin to the Big Bend - and features 10 driving loops and 57 sites. Sites located along the 940-mile circuitous route highlight the region's tallest mountains, grandest rivers, starriest skies, vast sand dunes, sprawling desert and an encyclopedic roster of much of the state's most noteworthy flora and fauna.
The Great Texas Wildlife Trails system, which encompasses 953 sites along the state's highways and byways, stands alone as the nation's grandfather of wildlife trails. The Central Coast section of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, developed in 1995, was the state's and nation's first wildlife trail. Following Texas' lead, more than 40 states now have wildlife trails.
Nature tourism in Texas is big business. Wildlife viewing in Texas attracts more than 4 million participants, generates $2.9 billion in expenditures and has an economic impact of $5.1 billion, according to a 2006 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service national survey of fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation.
For the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department joined with the non-profit Texas Mountain Trail and Texas Pecos Trail regions, both part of the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Heritage Trails Program, to solicit nominations from West Texas cities and towns for wildlife-viewing and birding locations and to help fund the trail map, roadside signs and other ancillary products.
"West Texas is a huge area still somewhat unfamiliar to many travelers who don't know where to go to see the best of what the region offers," says TPWD nature tourism manager Shelly Plante. "The trail map puts all of West Texas' cultural and natural resources at your fingertips."
The 27 x 36-inch color map points the way to such West Texas landmarks as the Franklin and Guadalupe mountains, Big Bend National Park, Indian Lodge, the McDonald Observatory, Hueco Tanks State Park, Wyler Aerial Tramway and Chinati Hot Springs. Each Far West Texas Wildlife Trail roadside site is marked by the trail's brown sign sporting the outline of a scaled quail.
Travelers can refer to the map to find out which sites charge a fee and which are open daily and allow camping, are day-use only or require calling ahead of time to visit. Each site listing provides a synopsis of best spots to view indigenous and migratory bird species, as well as West Texas critters such as horned lizards, roadrunners, bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcat and the occasional mountain lion.
To celebrate the completion of Texas' final wildlife trail's completion, all state parks and Texas Department of Transportation travel information centers are offering to visitors free full-color trail maps of their region while supplies last. For more information, visit the Great Texas Wildlife Trails website.
Details of the June Far West Texas Wildlife Trail launch events follow:
WHO: Texas Mountain Trail Region and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
WHERE: Fort Davis, Indian Lodge, Davis Mountains State Park
WHEN: Thursday, June 2, 8 a.m. bird walk (led by Carol Edwards and members of the Tierra Grande Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists) followed by a 10 a.m. party and ribbon-cutting to launch the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail
WHAT: The 10 a.m. program will include Far West Texas Wildlife Trail and National Trails Day giveaways, presentation of two Texas Mountain Trail "Hospitality Heroes" award winners -- Barrett Durst and the staff of Big Bend Ranch State Park for their care of park visitors during record cold temperatures this winter -- and the Marfa Public Radio staff for their life-saving coverage of recent wildfires. Light breakfast snacks will be served. Park admission fees will be waived for all participants and free maps will be given to all attendees. There will be information tables for attendees to get more information about the wildlife trail sites and sponsors. Event assistance will be provided by Friends of Davis Mountains State Park and Tierra Grande Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists.
WHO: Texas Pecos Trail Region and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
WHERE: Monahans, Monahans Sandhills State Park (Dunagan Visitor Center)
WHEN: June 3, 9:30 a.m. event, followed by 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony
WHAT: The program will begin with a light breakfast at 9:30 a.m, followed by a 10 a.m. welcoming and ribbon-cutting to launch the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail map. David Dotter of the Monahans Sandhills State Park will give a short presentation. The nature trail, located adjacent to the visitor center, will be open for guests, birdwatchers and media to tour immediately following the ceremonies. TPWD biologist Mark Lockwood will be leading an interpretive nature hike for attendees. Far West Texas Wildlife Trail and National Trails Day giveaways, as well as free Far West Texas Wildlife Trail maps, will be distributed. There will be information tables for attendees to get more information about the wildlife trail sites and sponsors. There is no admission fee to attend the event and park admission is being waived for event attendees. Refreshments and ribbon-cutting are sponsored by the Monahans Chamber of Commerce.
WHO: Texas Mountain Trail Region and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
WHERE: El Paso, Keystone Heritage Park, 4220 Doniphan, El Paso, TX 79922
WHEN: June 4, 9:45 a.m. event begins
WHAT: The program begins at 10 a.m. and will include Far West Texas Wildlife Trail and National Trails Day giveaways, ribbon-cutting and presentations. Light trail snacks will be served. Park admission fees will be waived for all participants, and free Far West Texas Wildlife Trail maps will be given to all attendees. There will be information tables for attendees to get more information about the wildlife trail sites and sponsors. Event assistance will be provided by El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society members who will be staffing the viewing stand for birding activities before and during the event.
Note to Media: For more information about any of these three events, please contact one of the three trail partners: Shelly Plante, TPWD Nature Tourism manager at 512-241-9163 or shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov; Beth Nobles, Texas Mountain Trail executive director at 432-284-0002 or bethnobles@texasmountaintrail.com; or Scott Jordan, Texas Pecos Trail executive director at 325.387.3900 or info@texaspecostrail.com.
Photo Editors: For j-peg images of the new West Texas graphics, scenics and maps of the trail, please visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/?g=far_west_texas_wildlife_trail
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: James Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
May 25, 2011
National Fishing Day June 4 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS -- The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens will kick off National Fishing and Boating Week by making a family fishing trip affordable with free admission for kids 12 and under plus free fishing for the whole family and free hot dogs and drinks from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 4.
Each child will receive a free ticket good for door prize drawings at 3:00 p.m. in the Anglers Pavilion; those drawn must be present to win.
A tournament for the largest catfish caught from the TFFC casting pond will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The tournament is open to children age 12 and under. The winner must be present to collect the prize at 2:00 p.m.
In addition to fishing, visitors can walk the wetlands trail; see a diver hand feed fish; learn about the history of fishing in the freshwater fishing museum; shop for a Father's Day gift in the Flat Creek Bait 'n Goods Gift Shop and watch the alligator feeding at 3:30 p.m.
National Fishing day at TFFC is sponsored by Athens Wal-Mart Supercenter, Ernie Yarborough and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Yarborough and Wal-Mart employees will be cooking and serving free hot dogs and soft drinks.
National Fishing and Boating Week comes at the start of the summer vacation season and is designed to encourage families to spend time together on and around water. No fishing license is required anywhere in the state on the first Saturday in June, which is designated Free Sportfishing Day.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is an aquatic nature center and hatchery complex operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It is located 75 miles southeast of Dallas and four miles east of Athens on F.M. 2495. Dive shows take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Hours are 9 to 4 Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 4 Sunday. Usual admission is adults, $5.50; seniors, $4.50; children 4-12, $3.50. For general information go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc/ or call (903) 676-2277. For event information contact Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov.
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Rocky Holland, Possum Kingdom SP, (940) 549-1803 or Rocky.Holland@tpwd.texas.gov ]
May 25, 2011
Post-Wildfire Possum Kingdom State Park Reopening
CADDO - Possum Kingdom State Park, blackened but not bowed by April wildfires, reopened today just in time for the traditionally busy Memorial Day weekend.
The park's cabins and 10 primitive campsites are still off limits, but the other camping areas will be open, according to Rocky Holland, park superintendent. He says replacement of the two of three burned sewer field liners is still not complete, so the park's wastewater system remains shut down, but should be operable soon. That means bathrooms and shower facilities, as well as the trailer dump station, will not be available.
Portable toilets have been brought into the park in the interim. Visitors are reminded to bring their own drinking water due to the high salt content of the water supply. Due to reduced park operations, all park fees are being discounted through May 31.
Possum Kingdom State Park sustained wildfire damage to approximately 90 percent of the park, but dozens of firefighters kept the flames from scorching the campgrounds and saved the other structures inside the park. Only the linen building and Cabin 2 suffered sustained slight damage from the wildfires that ravaged more than 100,000 acres and burned more than 100 homes in the Possum Kingdom Lake area before being contained.
Much of the park's blackened terrain already is showing signs of recovery, thanks to recent rains, and is expected to continue to green up over the coming months. The three camping areas, as well as the lakeside camping, swimming beach and picnic area, sustained no fire damage. The park store and marina are open for business.
Possum Kingdom State Park covers 1,528 acres in Palo Pinto County, 17 miles north of Caddo.
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