State Parks Getaways Fall 2013

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stagecoach , 2 kids ready to climb in


In This Issue:


History Refurbished at Indian Lodge

Indian Lodge against hilly background

History is everywhere in Texas State Parks – from the remnants of the El Camino Real trail to the monument for the Battle of San Jacinto to the many Civilian Conservation Corps-built cabins, shelters, trails, bridges and refectories. Visitors can have a truly immersive experience at many of our parks, but Indian Lodge, is the park system’s only historic hotel. Nestled in Davis Mountains State Park and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, Indian Lodge is a truly unique destination.

On the heels of a nearly two-year and $4 million dollar renovation that restored the lodge's historic rooms, lobby and exteriors, the Interpretive Services Branch of Texas State Parks embarked on a project to tell the story of Indian Lodge. Drawing inspiration from oral histories, historic artifacts and original architectural drawings, the exhibits team created new furniture, exhibits and even original artwork. Today, new chairs, tables, lamps and exhibits blend with some original furniture pieces and the rustic architectural details to create a space that reflects original vision for Indian Lodge.

Learn more about the CCC and the young men whose work helped lay the foundation for 29 state parks and look for CCC structures when you visit a park. Check the calendar of events for more opportunities to travel back in time.

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Win Prizes in Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest

kids painting mural under a tent

The "Get to Know" Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest invites youth (ages 19 years and younger) to go to create original works of art, writing, photography, videography and music inspired by nature. Here are the details:

This contest is just part of the new Texas State Parks Arts in the Parks program. Check the art-themed activities calendar that will connect you (and your family and friends) with nature. Time in the outdoors might inspire a wildlife drawing, a romantic sonnet, a musical opus, an abstract painting, a rock/rap/country/pop video… or maybe an awesome refrigerator drawing by your five-year-old.

Visit a Texas State Park near you and let your inner artist experience the outdoors! Connect. Create. Celebrate.

Texas State Parks is proud to partner with the "Get to Know" program, whose mission is to inspire connections between children and nature through the creative arts.

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Four Ways to Get Ready for a State Park Visit

trail map illustrationUse these online resources to make your next state park visit better than ever.
  • Park Facility and Trail Maps  See the park layout before you go – cabins, campsites, roads and more. Twenty-nine parks have new, downloadable trail maps with GPS coordinates, such as these for Fort Parker, Palmetto and Galveston.
  • Mobile-friendly web pages: Now playing on the small screen! The State Park web pages  now support mobile browsing.  Park visitors can conveniently read the same content on any device, from smartphone to tablet to desktop computer. A big thanks to Toyota for helping to fund these improvements to the state park website.
  • Visitors’ Frequently Asked Questions  From campfires and fees to pets and weather, check out these answers to questions that many park visitors wonder about.
  • TPWD on YouTube The official channel includes videos of every park, plus activity skill builders, wildlife videos and much more.

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Parks’ Best Pals Are Volunteers

volunteer leads group of kids on walk

As Texas Parks and Wildlife celebrates its 50th anniversary, we realize that we wouldn’t be where we are today without “a little help from our friends.” In state parks, those friends are the hundreds of volunteers who donate their brain, brawn, time and bounty to keep parks humming along.

Learn more about volunteers’ contributions to over 50 state parks in “My Best Friend is a Park from the special 50th anniversary issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Learn more detail about volunteering in this Passport To Texas radio story.

Register today to become a Texas state parks volunteer.

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Learn to Camp From Experts: TPWD Staff!

kids getting into canoesDon’t let the mysteries of pitching a tent or making coffee without electricity keep your family from the rewards of camping. You and the kids can learn the basics at a Texas Outdoor Family workshop led by highly skilled outdoor specialists and trained volunteers. Watch this video of a workshop in action. You can also learn fun outdoor skills like kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching, and geocaching depending on the site location, facilities and season.

Here are five examples of parks throughout the state that will be hosting workshops this fall: 

View the full Texas Outdoor Family calendar for these and other locations and dates.

Cost: $65 for a 1-night workshop or $85 for 2-night workshop for up to 6 people. Bring your own food and bedding. We provide everything else. No experience necessary!

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“Geocaching Changed My Life” – True Story

Toni Brown at homeAs a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, Texas Parks and Wildlife employee Toni Brown says she spent many secluded years wondering how to find her niche in the outside world. In this video story, she tells in her own words how geocaching  – which she tried at a Texas Parks and Wildlife event – “opened up my doors and led me to places I never would have ventured to before.”

Learn more about geocaching, a type of treasure hunt using a GPS unit or an app on a smartphone to help find hidden "caches" placed by people all over the world. It’s popular in many Texas State Parks. Learn more at a Geocache workshop or find the coordinates for the latest Geocache Challenge.

“I can honestly say that geocaching has changed my life,” Toni says. She is close to finding her 7000th geocache. Life really is better outside!

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Park Ranger Hike Pick: Arrowhead Trail, Atlanta SP

2 adults fishing along trail next to lake

Arrowhead Trail is a popular, easy one-mile loop in Atlanta State Park, near Queen City, TX in the far northeast corner of the state. Tucked away in a classic east Texas pine forest, the parklands and its lake attract wildlife and people, just as they did hundreds of years ago. The observant hiker may see red-headed and pileated woodpeckers and pelicans, depending on the season. Elsewhere in the park, you can also find the wagon wheel ruts of early settlers. 

Before you begin your hike, check out loaner fishing gear at the park store so you can fish along Wright Patman Lake during your hike. (You do not need a fishing license to fish in waters at Texas State Parks.) Hiking sticks and medallions for your journey are also available for purchase. This trail is also part of the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge.

 Please remember to tread lightly:

  • Protect the integrity of park resources and be safe by staying on the trails.
  • Dispose of litter properly.
  • Make memories by only taking photos.

Download a park and trail map and a checklist of the birds of Atlanta State Park.

Read more about the park in “Park Pick: Simple Solitude” from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

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Hightail It* to the Bison Celebration September 28

bison on the plainHead on up north where the bison roam at Caprock Canyon State Park and take part in the 3rd Annual Bison Celebration Festival in Quitaque on September 28th. Before you see the real thing, watch this video to get an up close look at the Texas State Bison Herd, descendants of the legendary Southern Plains Bison. Once, millions of these shaggy giants grazed the western plains before hunting drove them to near extinction. Today, the herd is making a comeback with some 95 bison roaming alongside park visitors, and proceeds from the Bison Celebration will help grow the thriving herd.

Along with its bison stars, this all-day festival will also feature tunes from Texas’ award winning country band, Asleep at the Wheel, as well as fun arts and crafts and historical reenactments. Arrive early, and herd up the family for the 5k or 1m Buffalo Stampede Color Run. Need a break from the celebrations? Explore any of a dozen park trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Visit the website for the event schedule and tickets. All proceeds from the Buffalo Stampede registrations and Bison Celebration event tickets support the restoration of the Texas State Bison Herd to their historic range in Caprock Canyons State Park.

Thanks to these sponsors for their generous support of the event: First National Bank – Quitaque, Texas Bison Association, Ray Lee Equipment

*Watch this video to learn the original meaning of “hightail it.”

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Watch for a Campy New State Parks License Plate!

license plate tent and campfire

The votes are in, and this tent scene will soon be available as the newest plate in the Conservation License Plate series! 

  • Perfect for lovers of nature, parks, camping, campfires, starry moonlit nights… 
  • Only $30/year—with $22/plate going to benefit Texas State Parks
  • Available for your car, truck, trailer and RV.

This new plate will be available in the spring of 2014 online and at your local county tax office. If you would like to be notified by email when the plate is released for purchase, visit Texas drivers can also support state parks with a Bluebonnet license plate.

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A message from a Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertiser

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Thanks to the following sponsors and partners:

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