New State Park Ornaments

December 7th, 2016
New State Park Holiday Ornaments

New State Park Holiday Ornaments

This is Passport to Texas

For those who celebrate the Christmas holiday—or who simply treasure State Parks—a new trio of Texas State Park ornaments is available.

It’s our fifteenth year doing the ornament, actually. We’re really excited about it this year.

Aaron Friar promotes Texas State Parks. When the tradition began, parks rolled out a single limited edition ornament annually that was made from gold flashed brass, and featured three parks. Now it releases three limited edition ornaments annually made from laser cut wood, and each features a single park.

So, this is our fifth year doing that. And we’ve selected three parks. We’re doing Dinosaur Valley, Balmorhea, and then we’re doing Tyler State Park.

Find details about the annual Texas State park ornaments at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

If you go to texasstateparks.org/holidays, you can find out all the information about the new ornaments. An individual ornament is going to be $8.95, but you can get all three for $19.95 as a package. And then, if you want to start adding to your collection of ornaments, there are ways to purchase past ornaments.

Find details and see what’s available at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Upland Game Bird Forecast

December 6th, 2016
Bobwhite quail

Bobwhite quail

This is Passport

Substantial rainfall and mild summer temperatures across the state bode well for quail hunters.

Typically when you’re thinking about quail hunting in Texas, you’re thinking about south Texas and also the rolling plains up in north Texas and the Panhandle and things are certain looking great in both of those areas.

Robert Perez is Upland Game Program Leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Scale quail, in West Texas, are doing exceptionally well.

It’s why people come to Texas [to hunt]. And in the desert when it rains, everything turns green and blooms and the timing has been very good so our numbers are pretty staggering as far as what we’ve been seeing with scaled quail in west Texas. And we expect to see some great opportunities.

Quail isn’t the only upland game bird doing well this season. Perez says turkey hunting is on the rise.

Wild turkey hunting is a growing sport. The excitement of calling in a bird and it coming in—a big old Tom. They really rely on spring moisture to be successful at nesting. And, so we’re going to see a variety of ages, which is great for hunters because they’ll be looking for that mature bird but they’ll also be some three and four year old birds in there. If you had to put a number on it or qualify the season for turkey for Rio Grande Turkey it’s looking excellent.

Hunting in Texas is big business bringing more than three-billion dollars to the state’s economy.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

2016 Holiday Events in Texas State Parks

December 5th, 2016

holidays_600x300

This is Passport to Texas

Texas state parks pull out all the stops during the holidays.

All of our parks are doing some kind of event, or having some kind of special event for the holidays.

Aaron Friar promotes parks for Texas Parks and Wildlife. During this season, overnight campers are encouraged to decorate their camp sites.

Which is a lot of fun. A lot of them [State parks] are waiving campsite fees for the folks that will decorate their campsites. It’s just a lot of fun, because everybody can get involved. It’s like a trail of lights.

Nearby communities visit parks during December to enjoy the “light-hearted” creativity of overnight campers.

They’ll do hayrides [at some parks] and all sorts of special things with that—so it’s fun.

Imagine a hayride through your favorite park on a chilly winter evening while enjoying a festive light display along the way…and then ending the evening’s enjoyment with a craft activity or sweet treat.

We have a lot of cool arts and crafts activities that parks are putting on. And cookies and hot chocolate and wassail… I think we’re going to keep Santa pretty busy this year. He’s going to be making a lot of visits to a lot of our parks.

Find a list of events at texasstateparks.org/holidays; you may just discover a new family tradition for the holidays.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

2016 Deer Season Forecast

December 2nd, 2016
White-tailed buck

White-tailed buck

This is Passport to Texas

Last year’s deer season was good; and this year’s season promises to be better.

The conditions have been incredible this year. We had a wet spring across the state—from El Paso to Houston and Amarillo to Brownsville.

White-tailed deer program leader, Alan Cain, says Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates the white-tail population…at about four-million animals. Yet, too many deer in one place can cause illness among them, including possible die off in the herd. Hunting helps to maintain a healthy balance.

We encourage hunters to take the full bag limit in those particular counties. And by doing so it helps improve the habitat. If they don’t want to put that meat in the freezer, they can certainly donate it to Hunters for the Hungry or different charitable organizations around the state.

With an excellent forecast for deer hunting this season, now is the time to get the next generation into the field.

And it’s a great opportunity to get kids outdoors; expose them to hunting. And recruit our future generation of wildlife managers into the state.

Download the Texas Outdoor Annual APP onto your smart phone. Before going on your hunt. It will help you find hunting season dates and bag limits for your county and a whole lot more. Find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Take a Walk on the Twinkly Side

December 1st, 2016
Family at Kreische House during Trail of Lights.

Family at Kreische House during Trail of Lights.

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate a quarter mile walking trail this holiday season at the Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites in LaGrange.

The trail of lights is open to the public five nights during the first part of December. That’s December third, ninth, tenth, sixteenth and seventeenth, from 6 pm to 8 pm. And our park is decorated with lots of lights and different ornaments throughout the grounds. Kreische house is open, it’s decorated for Christmas. We have entertainment, refreshments, and Santa Claus is there for children to tell their wishes to.

Dennis Smith is park superintendent.

[It’s] just a really pretty site here. We sit on a 200 foot bluff that overlooks the city of La Grange–and see the night lights of the city. It’s just a really spectacular opportunity for people to come out and enjoy a great Christmas celebration.

Smith says the trail of lights is the perfect family activity for the holiday season.

Every year we have comments from families that say we’ve been coming out here for the last 20 years. Families that come from Houston, Austin, San Antonio–just to come back to the trail of lights each year. We see more and more of that as we go by, and are just really glad to see these families keep coming back with more generations of their families to help celebrate the season.

Find complete details about the tail of lights at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange, including entrance fees at texasstateparks.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.