Life's Better Outside - Summer Edition 2012

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.
header for LBO: hills, river, sky

In This Issue: Ten Hidden Gems - Visit Overlooked State Parks | Texas’ Best Land Stewards for 2012 |Bastrop State Park Back in Full Swing | Vote Here to Help Bastrop State Park Win $100,000 | North Texas Boaters “Clean, Drain and Dry.” | Falcon Reservoir Tops U.S. List of Bass Lakes | Hunter Education Instructors Wanted | Outdoor Activity of the Month: Fun Times | Neighborhood Fishin’ Summer Delight | Game Warden Investigations

Ten Hidden Gems - Visit Overlooked State Parks

Caprock view and dark sky
Whether you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path spelunking adventure, a glimpse of prehistoric Texas, a place for your kids to see a longhorn or bison, the perfect spot to pitch a tent beneath starry skies, or a peaceful refuge from frenetic urban life, Texas State Parks have you covered.

Learn more about ten unsung parks in all corners of the state as described in Rob McCorkle’s “Ten Hidden Gems” from the June issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Consider spending a day, a weekend or a week in one of these getaway parks and discover why “Life’s Better Outside.”

Texas’ Best Land Stewards for 2012

red-cockaded woodpecker peeking from tree
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

children in piney woods with trailer
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 

pine seedling in mulch
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 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 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.”

Don't be a carrier boat poster
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

red sunset sky with plant sillouettes
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.

One great way to access the great bass fishing – as seen in this video  -  is from Falcon State Park.

Hunter Education Instructors Wanted

instructor talking with class
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                

paddler, two kids, canoe on wooded creek
• June-Fishing: It’s the perfect time of year to take the kids fishing! Enjoy free fishing in state parks or check out Go Fish! learn-to-fish events held at 13 state parks throughout Texas.

• 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.

Sign up for "State Park Updates" to receive a monthly Outdoor Activity of the Month email update.

Neighborhood Fishin’ Summer Delight 

seated man baiting hook for boy
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

officer on offshore boat in cap and gear
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.
Costa Del Mar promotion
Magazine ad gift for Father's Day
Toyota Texas Bass Classic 2012 promo
Thanks to the following sponsors
Buy a Toyota
Nature Rocks