From the pen of Robert L. Cook
As we welcome in the new year of 2003, I hope that you will plan to enjoy the wonders of outdoor Texas many times during the coming year.
This issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife provides a sampling of the variety of outdoor activities available in Texas and the conservation responsibilities that go with them.
- Texas has a wide variety of unsurpassed hunting opportunities that are available to us today because of decades of conservation efforts, financial contributions and commitment by the private landowners and hunters of Texas. While other states brag about their public hunting lands, Texas far exceeds their results in hunter numbers, hunting success rates, season lengths, liberal bag limits and the variety of species available. Hunt Texas.
- Overall, fishing has never been better in Texas. Want to catch a huge bass? Want to enjoy the best saltwater fishing in North America? Fish Texas.
- Want to capture on film a wide variety of birds, animals and scenic wonders?
Also, as we begin the new year it is important that we pause to say thanks for all the blessings of the years gone by and the people who made these wonderful opportunities available. Our incredible state parks and outdoor learning centers such as the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and Sea Center Texas at Lake Jackson would not be available to the children and citizens of Texas without the thousands of volunteer workers who give freely of their time and skills every day. We could not operate sites such as Bastrop, Inks Lake, Mother Neff, Monahans Sandhills and Palo Duro Canyon state parks without this assistance. Historic sites such as the Admiral Nimitz Museum, Battleship Texas, Fort Griffin, Fort McKavett and the San Jacinto Battleground simply would not be what they are today without this gift of labor and love.
All Texans have ownership in our state’s natural and cultural resources and should take immense pride in assisting with the upkeep of these facilities.
Hunters, fishers, park visitors, boaters and landowners pay fees directly for the opportunity to enjoy these resources and special places. We thank each of you, and hope that other outdoor enthusiasts will be inspired by your example. However, these sizable contributions are not enough to properly care for the infrastructure and operation of these facilities. For this, we look to the legislature.
The members of the Texas Legislature deserve our thanks and our support for their continuing efforts to provide the funding needed by our agency, especially for our state park system. The 78th session of the Texas Legislature begins work and deliberation this month to address the state’s many issues and needs. Their task is not an easy one and, like many others, we need their assistance during this legislative session.
The next time you see one of our many volunteers, legislators or conservation-minded citizens, be aware of what they do for all Texans and take the time to say, “Thank you for your help; what can I do?”