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Start It Off Right With a New Year's Hike

Start 2018 with a walk on the wild side by participating in a guided stroll through a Texas state park as part of the national First Day Hikes initiative.

Last New Year’s Day, nearly 4,000 park visitors statewide walked, biked, swam and paddled their way into 2017 as part of Texas state parks’ annual First Day Hikes events. First Day Hikes events are a national initiative to get park visitors to start their year on the right foot and enjoy the natural, historical, cultural and recreational opportunities at parks.

Nationwide, more than 1,300 First Day Hikes were offered in all 50 states, with 61,800 participants covering over 111,850 miles. In Texas, 76 parks participated by hosting 123 events throughout the day.

“We have seen the First Day Hikes initiative grow every year,” says Ky Harkey, director of interpretation for Texas state parks. “These events are a wonderful way for families to strap on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, traverse the trails together and enjoy Texas’ state parks.”

On Jan. 1, First Day activities will be held at nearly every state park, ranging from easy family strolls to rugged climbs, moonlight hikes and walks with dogs, plus paddling, pedaling and more.
For more information, visit tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/first-day-hikes.

 

Gear Up Our Texas Game Wardens

From helping to outfit a new K-9 unit to providing gear for the underwater search-and-recovery team, those who care about Texas game wardens can now help them out.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has launched a new program to help Texas game wardens get the job done out in the field. Through private donations, Gear Up for Game Wardens will provide specialty equipment needed to maintain safety and provide the highest level of service, such as supplying digital radios for upgraded field communications. While the state provides the basic necessities for wardens to do their jobs, there is still a critical need for additional equipment.

“Texas game wardens played an important role as first responders in rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey, and specialty gear no doubt saved some lives,” says Dan Flournoy, chair of the Gear Up for Game Wardens leadership committee. “Game wardens also protect the natural resources associated with hunting, fishing, hiking and bird-watching, and provide a safe environment for people participating.”

Working closely with TPWD, the foundation has compiled a list of the most pressing equipment needs, detailed on the website. Supporters can provide funds for the priority needs, make a general donation or learn more about the program. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go to the effort.

For more information, please visit www.gearupforgamewardens.org.

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