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Photos shot for the October issue

In the severe drought of 2022, vanishing waters uncovered a spate of unusual things — Nazi warships at the bottom of the Danube River, bodies in Lake Mead, ancient Buddhist statues in China and dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Park officials knew that the freshly revealed Acrocanthosaurus tracks had been there all along — they were just usually covered by water and sediment.

Fast-forward one-hundred million years, give or take, and the mineral deposit formation at Kickapoo Cavern State Park is a testament to geological change taking place under our feet.

A bit nearer in time, the Canyon Rim Trail at Seminole Canyon State Park offers glimpses of ancient pictographs, centuries-old rail beds and archaeological traces of early Native Americans.

This month, history balances with current events as Russell Graves walks us through the effects of Chronic Wasting Disease and an array of Halloween opportunities are available at your local state park.

In The Footsteps Of Dinos

Dinosaur tracks across Texas reveal secrets of ancient inhabitants.

I'm tracking reptilian giants in the wild at Dinosaur Valley State Park.Park ranger Zach Riggs leads me down a steep trail to the Paluxy River to view the main track site and a spot where traveling paleontologist Roland T. Bird discovered the world’s first sauropod tracks in 1938.

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Battling a Fatal Deer Illness

The spread of Chronic Wasting Disease raises alarm for Texas' deer.

Chronic wasting disease tops the list of things that keep Alan Cain up at night.

“I don’t want to see the disease have a significant impact on hunting,” says Cain, White-Tailed Deer Program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “CWD is out there on the landscape — we don’t know where it will pop up next. We’re trying to stay on top of CWD as best we can in order to try to limit its impact.”

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A Turning Point For Texas Parks

In the 1960s, Gov. John Connally merged agencies and ushered in an age of state park expansion.

Gov. John Bowden Connally Jr. was a product of rural Texas, growing up on a farm near Floresville south of San Antonio. He never lost his love of the land and landscape.

Connally’s rural upbringing translated into an abundant and lasting interest in state parks — so much so that when he was drafting his first legislative agenda in 1963, he prioritized the merger of the two state agencies tasked with nurturing Texas’ natural resources (the State Parks Board and the Game and Fish Commission), the money to pay for their upkeep and a major park expansion through acquisitions.

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Keep Texas Wild

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