Thursday, December 18, 2014

A&M Study: Texas State Parks Good for Economy

Tourists and visitors to Texas State Parks create an economic boost for nearby towns, generating income and jobs for local communities and growing the state economy, according to a recent study from Texas A&M University. In a nutshell, Texas State Parks:
  • Generate $774 million in retail sales annually,
  • Contribute $351 million in economic benefits, and
  • Create 5,800 jobs statewide.
“The take-away message from this study should be that the state park system is an important contributor to the Texas economy, particularly in rural areas and that the state’s net investment in parks is returned many times over as visitors travel to enjoy the outdoors and leave their dollars behind,” according to Dr. John Crompton, research team leader.
The study, also posted to the Texas Parks and Wildlife blog, surveyed nearly 14,000 state park visitors between March and June of 2014 and found that purchases made by park visitors result in greater wealth and employment in communities located near state parks.
Some of the findings:
  • Balmorhea — $2.3 million in value added; 50.3 jobs
  • Bastrop — $1.7 million in value added; 35.6 jobs
  • Big Bend Ranch — $1.9 million in value added; 27 jobs.
  • Cedar Hill — $3.1 million in value added; 41.7 jobs
  • Garner — $6.9 million in value added; 16.1 jobs
  • McKinney Falls — $883,146 in value added; 16.1 jobs
  • Palo Duro Canyon — $3.7 million in value added; 86 jobs
  • Pedernales Falls — $1.7 million in value added; 41.1 jobs
Read the full Crompton study.
For more on Texas's state parks, check out On Politics and Parks by George Bristol and Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps by Cynthia Brandimarte with Angela Reed.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Biologists and Game Wardens Rescue Sea Turtles from Frigid Waters

When the weather turns cold for long periods of time, biologists and game wardens prepare for freezing water temperatures to affect wildlife along the coast.

In 2011, more than 800 green sea turtles were rescued during one of the longest cold spells in decades in South Texas. The good news is that the large number means that more of the federal and state protected turtles are making their home in Texas bays.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has this report: If you see a cold-stunned turtle floating in the water or lying on the shore, it may appear dead but chances are it is not. Experts say you should cover it with a towel and report it to the Sea Turtle Stranding & Salvage Network at 361-949-8173, ext. 226 or page the Animal Rehabilitation Keep at 361-224-0814.

Check out this video from Texas Parks and Wildlife to hear about ongoing rescue efforts. To find out more about sea turtle volunteer projects and opportunities in South Texas and around the world, check out A Worldwide Travel Guide to Sea Turtles by Wallace J. Nichols, Brad Nahill, and Melissa Gaskill.