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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-02-25                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle (830) 866-3533; Karl Cloninger (512) 934-1723 ]
Feb. 25, 2009
West Texas Trail Ride To Teach School Kids About State's Pioneer Roots
MARFA, Texas -- Thirty youngsters from three north and west Texas school districts will spend their Spring Break rolling through the rugged expanses of West Texas in covered wagons to get a taste of what their pioneering forebears experienced some 150 years ago.
The youth outreach trail ride, sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association, will cover roughly 75 miles from Marfa to Big Bend Ranch State Park outside Presidio. Trail riders will gather March 14 at the Marfa Fairgrounds, and depart the next morning for the MacGuire Ranch and points south. The trail ride concludes March 21 after several days of exploring local ranches and camping out at Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas' largest state park.
Participants will include a number of 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in Gifted and Talented programs in the Marfa, Canutillo and Carrollton-Farmers Branch independent school districts. Accompanying the 10 wagons carrying students will be teachers from the three ISDs, dozens of TETRA wagon drivers and outriders, a scout team, a cooking team and support crew. Support will include TETRA members, Presidio County Sheriff's office personnel, TPWD game wardens, and Boy Scout Troop 155 of Georgetown, Texas.
The general purpose of the TPWD youth outreach and education program is to provide a challenging and fun-filled adventure to students from three culturally diverse school districts, according to the trail ride's organizer.
"We want to provide an educational program that gives youngsters a chance to experience what pioneer life might have looked like years ago from the confines of a wagon," said trail ride boss Karl Cloninger, TPWD's director of the Parrie Haynes Ranch in central Texas. "We'll be teaching the children about the cultural resources of the Alamito Creek watershed and the history of ranching in the Big Bend. A top-notch educational team supported by numerous local ranchers and speakers will make this an experience not to be forgotten."
Alamito Creek follows a historic "highway" used by Spanish explorers hundreds of years ago that has a number of significant cultural resource sites along the way. The old Chihuahua Trail from Mexico to Texas also runs through the area being traversed by the trail riders.
Cloninger calls the outing a "move up" trail ride, where the wagon train stages at a certain location for a while, before picking up and moving further down the "trail" to the next overnight camping spot. Most of the route between Marfa and Big Bend Ranch will be along unpaved Texas Highway 169 and through rugged, but picturesque Chihuahuan Desert ranchland.
Along the way, students will attend "class sessions" that will teach them about the cultural and natural resources of West Texas, touching on the bi-national borderland and the area's rich ranching culture, geography, geology, and archeology. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Fort Leaton State Historic Site in Presidio during their three-day stay at Big Bend Ranch State Park.
For additional information, contact Karl W. Cloninger at (512) 934-1723.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Eddie McKenna, 512-389-8696, eddie.mckenna@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 25, 2009
Abierto: Texas añade un nuevo parque estatal
Brownsville, Texas--Resaca de la Palma, el parque estatal más reciente en Texas, ya está abierto al público. Es el octavo eslabón del Centro Mundial de Observación de Aves o World Birding Center, una cadena de nueve parques que cruzan el Valle del Río Grande.
1,200 acres (405 hectáreas) conforman Resaca de la Palma. Dicho parque se encuentra ubicado a escasos kilómetros de la punta extrema meridional del estado de Texas, es el más grande de los nueve sitios que componen el Centro Mundial de Observación de Aves. Ricos en fauna silvestre, los Centros abarcan 120 millas (74.4 km) en el pasillo del Río Grande, desde Roma hasta la isla del Padre.
Aunque no es parque estatal en el sentido tradicional, Resaca de la Palma es ideal para los observadores de aves, entusiastas de mariposas, y otros amantes de la naturaleza que deseen ver animales silvestres en plena naturaleza. La propiedad incluye una resaca reestablecida (lecho anciano de un cauce de río, inundado anteriormente por las crecidas del Río Grande), así como humedales, matorrales de región semiárida, y un bosque maduro de palma y ébano. El parque incluye cinco variedades de hábitat: Matorral Tamaulipeco, bosque de encino-anacua, bosque de almez azucarero, praderas revegetadas, y los humedales de la resaca.
"El hábitat más significativo de Resaca de la Palma es la resaca de seis millas que serpentea por el parque," dijo Pablo de Yturbe, superintendente del parque. "Nuestro personal trabajó muchos meses para preparar el canal y para rellenarlo. Empezamos a bombear agua a la resaca en julio del 2008."
El parque está abierto diariamente desde las 8:00 de la mañana hasta las 5:00 de la tarde. Tiene cuatro plataformas de observación, área para picnic, un centro de visitantes, senderos para bicicletas, personal bilingüe, señalización bilingüe, y varios kilómetros de senderos ; algunos de las cuales son accesibles para gente discapacitada. Hay más de 8 millas de caminos de senderismo, incluso un camino de media milla que cumple con la ley para americanos con discapacidades o Americans with Disabilities Act, y una ruta circular pavimentada de 3.5 millas por la cual circula un tranvía que hace dos paradas.
Resaca de la Palma atrae más de 250 especies de aves, gracias a su gran variedad de hábitat, su ubicación entre dos vías migratorias de Norte América, y su proximidad a México y Centroamérica. Algunos de los especies de ave rara vez vuelan más al norte de Estados Unidos, y solo se pueden observar en el Valle del Río Grande de Texas.
Los visitantes al parque podrán observar una gran variedad de especies brillantes como la tangara roja, el pavito migratorio, la chara verde, y el bolsero piquigrueso, así como el pato pijije aliblano, el cuclillo piquinegro, el rascadorcito cabeza rufirrayada, y varias aves acuáticas migratorias.
Este flamante parque estatal abrió gracias a fondos adicionales proporcionados por la Asamblea Legislativa de Texas en 2007. Estos fondos pagan los sueldos de 14 empleados de tiempo completo y parcial, entre ellos los conductores del tranvía, los ayudantes del mantenimiento, los intérpretes naturales del parque, y un especialista de recursos naturales. Para 2008, Resaca de la Palma recibió $82,000 de presupuesto. Además, la asamblea legislativa asigno $28,000 para surtir la tienda del parque estatal con mercancía.
Los visitantes al parque deben estacionarse en el estacionamiento del centro para visitantes y caminar, andar en bicicleta, o tomar el tranvía para entrar al parque. La cuota para el tranvía es incluida con la entrada obligatoria de $4. Los niños de 12 años y menores entran gratis. Por una cuota adicional, también se pueden alquilar binoculares, bicicletas y triciclos.
Resaca de la Palma, 100 New Carmen Blvd., ofrecerá caminatas para observación de aves los sábados por la mañana, caminatas para explorar la naturaleza los miércoles por la mañana, y de vez en cuando unas excursiones en bicicleta. Para más información, llame a (956) 350-2920.
Para llegar al parque desde Brownsville, los visitantes pueden tomar la FM-1732 hasta New Carmen Boulevard. La entrada está al lado este del bulevar.
---
On the Net:
This release in English: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=20081117a
http://www.worldbirdingcenter.org/sites/brownsville/
http://www.worldbirdingcenter.org/
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ] [RM]
Feb. 25, 2009
Family Camping Program Expanding Reach This Spring
AUSTIN, Texas -- Spring in Texas, with its pleasant temperatures, budding trees and riot of wildflowers, reigns as the most popular season for camping. So, there's no better time than the coming months to participate in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's increasingly popular program that introduces reluctant campers to the joys of pitching a tent under the stars.
Less than year old, the Texas Outdoor Family program has already reached more than 800 happy campers through more than a dozen events held at Texas state parks throughout south and central Texas. This spring, TOF staff and volunteers will expand the innovative outdoor camping program's reach into north Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon has scheduled a two-day TOF workshop on March 14-15. A little farther south at Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, a TOF workshop will be offered May 9-10. In north Texas, families are invited to participate in the March 21 overnight campout at Cooper Lake State Park in Sulphur Springs. Also in north Texas, Ray Roberts Lake State Park will host a TOF workshop April 18-19 at its Isle Du Bois unit near Pilot Point, as well as at Lake Mineral Wells State Park on May 9-10. For more information and complete listing of upcoming spring workshops, visit the Texas Outdoor Family Web page.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program appears not only to be removing barriers to enjoying camping and the great outdoors, but also to be reaching into urban communities to attract a diverse clientele, according to program coordinator Chris Holmes. So far, roughly two-thirds of the TOF participants have been non-Anglo, he says.
Jackie Romero, 30, of Edinburg, and her 8-year-old son, Noah, are representative of the kind of program participants Holmes is seeing in increasing numbers. Romero and her son participated in the two-day Texas Outdoor Family workshop in late January at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park near Mission.
Romero says she used to camp with her parents when she was a little girl, but hadn't been camping in many years. Her son, like many of today's children, had never camped out.
"I wasn't very confident about how to put up a tent or cook outdoors," Romero said. "When I read about it (TOF program) in the newspaper, I thought it would be fun to do and knew there would be people willing to help us and answer any questions I might have. It was no hassle, very easy-going and simple."
Working from a list of recommendations she received prior to the workshop, the mom and wife brought along hot dogs, corn on the cob, sandwich fixings and even steaks to prepare outdoors at their campsite that was set up prior to the Romeros' arrival on Saturday morning. Everything else was taken care of by TOF staff and volunteers who set up the tent and provided a butane cook stove, dishes and utensils, a lantern and firewood.
The Romeros and other families were able to choose from a number of daily outdoor activities -- from geocaching, her son's favorite, to kayaking and nature hikes. "My son loved it," she said of the experience. "He wants to go camping now and geocaching."
Romero and her son learned not only about the different birds, butterflies and plants of the Rio Grande Valley, but also came away with an appreciation of the natural treasure right in their backyard. "They told us about the area's natural resources that we take for granted," she said. "I didn't realize birders from around the world come down here to see what we have."
Each Texas Outdoor Family workshop is similar, but some activities are geared to the individual park's natural resources that, for instance, might include kayaking if the park is located on a lake or river.
The workshop costs $55 per family (up to six people), and includes individual camping sites for each family, restrooms with hot showers, professional park ranger-led programs and instruction, overnight state park police officer public safety and security, and state park Junior Ranger certification program. The TOF program follows the 'Leave No Trace' philosophy so it's environmentally friendly.
Toyota has come on board as a sponsor of Texas Outdoor Family, helping provide funding for equipment to make the weekend workshops possible, and more sponsors are being sought who want to help introduce families to nature and the outdoors.
Families can register by calling (512) 389-8903 and speaking to a Texas Outdoor Family representative Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-to-6 p.m., or send e-mail to tofsp@tpwd.texas.gov anytime. After registration, a confirmation packet with directions and details will be sent.
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