Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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State Park App | Snake Days | Invasives

New State Park App Puts Information at Your Fingertips  

Getting away from it all at a state park has never been easier. The new Texas State Parks Official Guide mobile app (download it on the Apple App Store or Google Play) helps you find your perfect park based on preferred activities, available camping options and trail information. It’s fast, free and easy!

“Mobile devices are very much part of our lives these days, and with this app, we can help enhance the park experience in more interactive ways,” says Brent Leisure, Texas state parks director. “It brings the outdoor experience into the 21st century by making valuable state park information more accessible than ever before in a very user-friendly format.”

The app keeps users up-to-date on park closures caused by weather or other events. Visitors can also create a custom list of their favorite parks.

For more information about the new app, visit www.TexasStateParks.org/app.

APP Features:
•  Facilities and amenities for all 95 Texas state parks
•  In-app dialing to make reservations or contact a park
•  Downloadable trail maps for offline use
•  Driving directions
•  Photos and videos of parks

Snake Days Draws Herp Enthusiasts

By Cullen Hanks

West Texas is one of the best places in country to find herps, a shorthand term for reptiles and amphibians. Each year, herping enthusiasts gather to learn about and celebrate the incredible diversity of these creatures that grace our desert and mountain habitats at the Snake Days Herpathon, to be held in Sanderson on June 3-5 this year.

Attendees will participate in presentations on herps, a raffle and silent auction with herping gear, a swap meet, vendor booths, educational displays and social time with other herping enthusiasts.

There’s a dinner with live music Saturday night, but it ends early so herpers can go out looking for snakes after the sun goes down. Snake Days proceeds support reptile and amphibian projects at TPWD.

The Herps of Texas project organizes a competition during the event, with prizes to see who can find and photograph the highest number of species. It takes both skill and luck to win this competition. Another competition, the Clean the Highways project, awards prizes to the top collectors of trash. Other fun includes a West Texas photography contest and a scavenger hunt for fake snakes.

For more information, go to www.snakedays.com. To follow the competition, keep an eye on the leaderboard at www.inaturalist.org/projects/snake-days-leaderboard.

War on Invasives Ramps Up

Thanks to record funding approved by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is ramping up an unprecedented, two-year effort to control and stop the spread of aquatic invasive plants and creatures. These invasives pose a seemingly ever-increasing hydra of threats, with giant salvinia and zebra mussels covering Texas lakes, giant reed and salt cedar smothering rivers and streams, and exotic fish competing with Texas natives and altering natural ecosystems.

“It’s a huge challenge to address these problems all across our state, and no one organization can do it alone — the scale of the problem is just staggering,” says Tim Birdsong, who leads aquatic resource conservation programs in TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division. “Now we have increased resources to expand control efforts and conduct research to fine-tune solutions. We urgently need the help of boaters, riverside landowners, river authorities, water management districts and other partners to be successful.”

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine joins this effort by starting a new monthly series profiling invasive species. Learn more about giant salvinia on Page 14 and watch for new topics in upcoming months. For more information on invasives, visit texasinvasives.org.


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