Ten Hidden Gems - Visit Overlooked State Parks
Texas’ Best Land Stewards for 2012
The transformation of a clear-cut, overgrazed working ranch into Cook’s Branch Conservancy
has earned the Conservancy, a program of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award, the state’s highest honor recognizing habitat management and wildlife conservation on private land. The 5,650 acre ranch in Montgomery County north of Houston offers a rare glimpse into what a century of regeneration looks like in the Pineywoods region of East Texas. Read details about the ranch restoration in this story
The annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards
honor private landowners for their accomplishments in habitat management and wildlife conservation and remind us of the value of successful land stewardship. Private landowners are the key to successful land and water conservation in Texas, since more than 90 percent of Texas is privately-owned.
Sponsors for the 17th annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards include Gulf States Toyota, Sand County Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Partners in Fish and Wildlife Program; Texas Wildlife Association; Lower Colorado River Authority; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Texas Agricultural Land Trust; Texas Farm Bureau, Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd.; Bamberger Ranch Preserve, Gardner Appraisal Group, and Capital Farm Credit.
Watch the videos
about the 2012 eco-region, corporate and special recognition winners and read more in this story
The Leopold award is conferred each year by the Sand County Foundation, an international non-profit organization devoted to private land conservation, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as part of its Lone Star Land Steward Awards.
Bastrop State Park Back in Full Swing
Visitors to Bastrop State Park
will find most facilities and all but a fraction of the Lost Pines parkland open to the public only seven months after a destructive wildfire burned 96 percent of the 6,500-acre national landmark.
Reservations are currently being accepted for all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs. In addition, 80 percent of the park trails have been reopened, according to Roger Dolle, Bastrop State Park site superintendent.
Vote Here to Help Bastrop State Park Win $100,000
Coca-Cola will provide a $100,000 grant to the park that receives the most votes during its national "America Is Your Park" promotion.
Vote online at www.livepositively.com/parks
and while you’re there, register your foursquare account so you can earn the park 100 votes when you “check-in”! Please tell your family and friends to vote, too, and post a link to www.livepositively.com/parks
on your Facebook and other social media accounts.
There's no limit on the number of times you can vote online. You can “check-in” as often as foursquare allows until the deadline of July 15. Better yet, visit the park and vote from there! If we all rally together, we can win this for Bastrop State Park!
Read more detail about the campaign in this story
North Texas Boaters “Clean, Drain and Dry.”
Boaters who “Clean, Drain and Dry” their boats will help stop the spread of zebra mussels
and other invasive species across Texas waters. Learn in this video
how every boater can play a part in stopping the threat posed by this little mussel.
A new regulation
that took effect in May asks boaters on Lake Texoma, Lake Lavon and the Red River and its tributaries to remove all water from their boat and trailer before leaving for another body of water. This will help prevent the spread of zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, which are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. Boaters are already prohibited from transporting visible invasive species, such as adult zebra mussels, that cling to their boats and trailers.
The public awareness campaign
, funded by partners and Sportfish Restoration federal aid dollars, will educate boaters through billboards, signage at marinas and area gas stations, lake buoys and stencils at boat ramps, radio public service announcements, and a number of other media.
“Our message is simple,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries regional director. “Don’t be a carrier. If you keep or use your boat or personal watercraft on Lake Texoma, or have operated in out-of-state waterways already infested with zebra mussels, Clean, Drain and Dry your vessel before heading to any other body of water in Texas.”
Falcon Reservoir Tops U.S. List of Bass Lakes
Falcon International Reservoir
is newly named as the top bass fishing lake in the U.S., as ranked by the editors of Bassmaster magazine. That’s not all. Seven other Texas reservoirs made the Top 100 list, ranking Texas as the best state for bass fishing. Read which water bodies made the list in this story
Hunter Education Instructors Wanted
Save lives. Pass on a legacy. Share your love of conservation. Hunter education instructors wear an orange vest and many hats. Watch this short video
about the hunter ed program and its quality instructors.
Become a hunter education instructor by following the 5 easy steps on the TPWD website
The Hunter Education Program
provides instruction in Texas hunting regulations, wildlife management and identification, conservation, ethics, firearm and hunting safety and responsibility and outdoor skills. The program goals are to reduce hunting-related accidents and violations; promote safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunting; and enhance hunting traditions and values. Every Texas hunter born on or after September 2, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education course.
“By understanding hunting through education, hunters and non-hunters alike will help make a bright future for the sport. Now is the time to become involved, so let us know if you are interested in becoming an instructor,” notes Robert Ramirez, hunter education specialist with TPWD.
Outdoor Activity of the Month: Fun Times
• July- Paddling
: Go kayaking or canoeing on one of the many Texas Paddling Trails
, all of which have well marked signs and easy, accessible take-ins and take-outs.
• August- Swimming
: Beat the heat and cool off at a swimming hole
near you. From spring fed rivers to Texas sized lakes, open ocean swims to diving in a pool, Texas State Parks offer a full range of swimming options.
for "State Park Updates" to receive a monthly Outdoor Activity of the Month email update.
Neighborhood Fishin’ Summer Delight
The Neighborhood Fishin’ Program
provides quality fishing opportunities to millions of people who live in Texas’ major metropolitan areas. Summer means catfish are being stocked every two weeks into these 14 urban lakes
to the joy of adults and kids alike.
Thanks to donations from the Sportmen’s Club of Fort Worth and the Nell V. Bailey Charitable Trust, fishing will be better than ever in Tarrant County this year.
“We are grateful to the Sportsmen’s Club of Fort Worth and the Nell V. Bailey Charitable Trust for helping us to provide quality fishing opportunities to the millions of people who live in the DFW area,” according to Program Manager Dave Terre. “We would welcome similar partnerships in other areas of the state served by the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program—Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Amarillo, Bryan-College Station, Waco and Wichita Falls.”
Any organization interested in partnering with TPWD on the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program should contact Dave Terre at (512) 389-4855.
Game Warden Investigations
Red snapper rustling, creek contamination, boat theft, hunting violations. The dedicated TPWD Game Wardens enforce the law off the pavement, sometimes with assists from GPS, UPS and Facebook as well as watchful citizens and partner agencies. We can’t make up these stories.
Read the latest Game Warden Field Notes
and see how our uniformed officers lay their lives on the line to protect human life, wildlife and Texas' greatest places every day. We owe them a big thank you.
Thanks to the following sponsors