State Parks Getaways E-newsletter: Spring Edition

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saltwater angler in kayak along shore
In this issue: Pick a Park for Paddling | Save Some Time for Fishing | Help Bastrop State Park Win $100,000 | State Park Guide Summer Edition Online and Digital | Visitation Up - Funding Update | Prepping for Camp Cooking | June 2 is National Trails Day | Summer is Great for Outdoor Learning | Enjoy the Water at Lake Ray Roberts | Catch Some Waves at Galveston Island State Park

Pick a Park for Paddling

many colorful canoes with a family setting out
This summer, see some sights you can’t see from a plane, a car, a bike or on foot. Try paddling in a canoe, kayak or paddleboat! You’ll see nature up close since a rich assortment of birds and wildlife are drawn to lake, river and coastal shorelines. Get in the flow at a state park where you can rent a boat.
Can you canoe? Learn a few simple tips in this video .
Some state parks such as Martin Dies, Jr. State Park are also part of a Texas Paddling Trail. These water trails have clearly marked put-ins and take-outs and information kiosks that make it easy to spend time on the water.

Save Some Time for Fishing

 two anglers standing in boat near bank
Fishing is a great way to while away some summer down time. Whether for a weekend or a morning, indulge in this summer tradition at a Texas state park. We make it easy!
1. Over 60 state parks have shore, pier and/or boat ramp access. Chances are there’s one near you.
2. Fishing is free in Texas state parks – you don’t need a fishing license inside the park boundary.
3. If you don’t have your own gear, you can often borrow tackle through the Tackle Loaner Program
4. You can learn to fish in a Texas state park at a “Go Fish!”  event.
5. Non-fishing family and friends can swim, boat, hike, explore, nap or sit back in the shade and admire your catch.

Help Bastrop State Park Win $100,000

camping area under loblolly pines
Beginning May 23, Coca Cola’s “America Is Your Park” campaign gives everyone a chance to vote for Bastrop State Park to earn a $100,000 recreational grant.
Restoration of the park's unique “Lost Pines” ecosystem and the recovery of the endangered Houston toad are top of mind for friends of the much-loved and legendary park. Last fall, the worst wildfire in Texas history burned 95 % of the park.
Our many parks all deserve support, but a rally around Bastrop may generate enough votes to win much-needed cash for the complex restoration project.
We'll make it easy to vote. Watch for our email announcement when the voting begins; it will take you directly to the Coca Cola voting opportunity.
Your visit to the park is also important. While there, check in with Foursquare.
Please share this alert with everyone.

State Park Guide Summer Edition Online and Digital

State Park Guide cover
For inspirational summer reading, check out the updated edition of the State Park Guide online. Or – for a cool new page turner – try the digital version. Like to have it handy in your glove box? It's still available at the usual places - state parks, Law Enforcement offices, Sea Center Texas, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, TxDOT travel information centers, Convention & Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce.

Visitation Up - Funding Update

image of State Park Pass
Texans are visiting their state parks – revenue from March park visitation was up 9.4% compared to March 2011. That’s good news because visitor fees pay for about half the cost to operate the state park system.
If you’re not already a card-carrying supporter of Texas State Parks, invest in a State Parks Pass. It pays off for state parks and it pays off for you when you visit!  The $70 cost buys you 365 days of access to more than 90 Texas State Parks for you and the passengers in your car.  More than 60 cooling swimming holes, thousands of miles of trails, 900 miles of bike paths, endless wildlife watching, fishing, climbing, caves, and memories. Cheap, healthy thrills where your dollars go further and the memories last forever.
Businesses are steppin’ up as well to support and promote state parks. See who they are and how they’re helping.
Since our fundraising campaign began five months ago, our supporters have donated more than $1.7 million to help state parks, bringing us closer to our $4.6 million goal. We anticipate continued progress over the next three months as summertime brings new opportunities to appreciate and support Texas’ greatest outdoor treasures.

Prepping for Camp Cooking

camp stove and burgers with family in background
Ahhh camp cooking! Whether you serve up peanut butter, breakfast tacos and hot coffee, or steaks, planning makes all the difference in an outdoor kitchen. You need not "pack the kitchen sink." Keep outdoor living easy with these great tips offered by Cynthia Pickens in ”Al Fresco Kitchen” from the May issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.
Need some tasty meal ideas to go with your equipment? Look for recipes you can prep before you travel like these easy outdoor recipes provided by the Texas Beef Council.

June 2 is National Trails Day

couple walking on shaded trail
Join "America's largest trailgating party"!
June 2 is National Trails Day, a day to celebrate the many miles of trails your favorite places have to offer. Check our special National Trails Day page to choose from dozens of scheduled park events.
Or create your own trail day. Head for a nearby park for a brisk hike, a nature walk, a bike ride, a stroll or even a float. Plan for comfortable clothing, water, hat, sunscreen and of course ....  a picnic.
Read more about the state and nationwide celebration in this news release.

Summer is Great for Outdoor Learning

boy viewing jawbone via magnifier
When school is out, the classroom can seem like a distant mirage to kids and parents alike. Keep those young brains engaged with some stealth learning at a Texas state park.
Some activities such as geocaching and wildlife watching you can do on your own. Or check the parks events calendar for more structured walks and talks coming this summer to a park near you. Before you go, read up on some tips to help the kids use their senses, learn to observe, and enjoy being outside.

Enjoy the Water at Lake Ray Roberts State Park

distant canoe on a lake
Double your parks and quadruple your fun! See what awaits you in this video about Lake Ray Roberts State Park on the shores of a 30,000 acre reservoir.
You’ll find two state park units (Isle du Bois and Johnson Branch), six satellite parks (Jordan Unit, Pond Creek, Pecan Creek, Buck Creek, Sanger, and Elm Fork), Wildlife Management Areas, wetlands, waterfowl sanctuaries and the 20-mile Ray Roberts Lake/Lake Lewisville Greenbelt Corridor. Phew!!!
The park offers bird watching, swimming, fishing, riding horses (bring your own or rent outside the park), and backpacking. Got a boat or canoe? Bring it along (no rentals available in the park) because the park has two boat ramps and plenty of shore access. And if you just want to relax, there is plenty of opportunity for that too!
To help plan your trip, on  the new Ray Roberts Lake State Park web page you'll find maps of both units, facilities and fees information and activity ideas. You can make your overnight reservations online. The entrance fee at each park is $7 for persons age 13 and older; children 12 and younger are free.

Catch Some Waves at Galveston Island State Park

horizon, setting sun, flying bird
Dreaming of summer days on beachfront property? Take a day trip or spend a weekend at Galveston Island State Park. Watch this video of all the 2,000-acre park offers, including bay and beach fishing, swimming, birding, wildlife watching, sand castle building and sunset watching.
The park is fully back in business after damage from 2008 Hurricane Ike closed the park for six months. Although the result is fewer beachside campsites, the good news is they all have a view of the Gulf.
What a place for a daydream! Make your overnight camping reservations now to exchange city pavement for two or more days of soft sand and sea breezes.
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