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TPWD News Release — April 4, 2012

Businesses lend a helping hand to Texas state parks

Latest effort by Texas-based Whole Earth with in-store donation month

AUSTIN — Realizing that Texas state parks are crown jewels and important economic engines of the Lone Star State, the business community is stepping up to help close a budget shortfall caused by last year’s devastating wildfires, record drought and triple-digit heat.

This month Whole Earth Provision Company stores will host a checkout counter donation campaign benefiting state parks. All customers who make a donation will receive a Texas State Park Guide, and for every $20 donation customers will also receive a $5 state park gift card redeemable for park entrance fees and merchandise at state parks around the state.

Whole Earth Provision Co. www.wholeearthprovision.com is a travel, adventure and nature store with eight locations in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

“In our Texas State Parks we Texans are blessed with opportunities for an unrivaled range of outdoor adventures,” said Jack Jones, company founder and lifelong Texas state park advocate. “These magical places belong to the citizens of Texas and are available for all of us to visit and experience.”

Other businesses have also made donations or helped raise funds for Texas state parks, including REI, Toyota, La Quinta Inns and Suites, Geico, and Crestview RV. Thanks to these businesses, and the generous donations of private individuals and foundations, close to $1.4 million of the $4.6 million needed to close the gap has already been raised.

With spring bringing prime conditions to most of the state, TPWD is telling Texans that visiting state parks is the most important way people can help, since about 50 percent of the park system operating budget comes directly from visitor fees. There are 12 state parks within an hour’s drive of Austin, nine within an hour’s drive of San Antonio, eight parks less than an hour away from folks living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and seven about an hour away from those living in the Houston area.

State parks offer an affordable way to spend time with family and friends, since, children under 13 are admitted free, and there are senior citizen discounts for annual park passes.

“This month-long promotion at Whole Earth could generate significant dollars for our state parks in a time of need,” said Brent Leisure, TPWD State Parks Director.

“We are very grateful for the fantastic support that the citizens and businesses of Texas continue to demonstrate on behalf of state parks.”

For more information about visiting Texas State Parks, or to make a donation online, visit www.texasstateparks.org

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