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«Recreation Plan Recreation Grants Branch State Parks Division 4200 Smith School Road • Austin, Texas 78744 © 2012 TPWD. PWD ...»

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Outdoor Recreation Supply The State Park Planning and Geospatial Resources area was tasked with updating the land and water inventory mandated in Chapter 11 of the Parks and Wildlife Code and as required in the SCORP guidelines. The process involved an intensive data collection period followed by analysis of current conservation and recreation lands available to Texas communities.

Inventory results are summarized in Chapter 4.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 1 - Overview

Outdoor Recreation Demand To ensure that ample opportunity for public participation has occurred in the development of the TORP, a variety of state and national survey studies were used to establish outdoor recreation trends in Texas. Results from the 2002-2007 Texas State Parks On-Site Visitor Survey, the TPWD 2009 Hispanic Focus Groups, and the Texas results from the 2009 NSRE conducted by the USFS are included in this analysis of outdoor recreation demand. In addition to these earlier studies, in 2011 TPWD also conducted two web surveys to garner public input on the outdoor recreational needs of Texans; generating nearly 4,000 responses.

The results and limitations from these surveys are further analyzed in Chapter 5.

Wetlands In fulfillment of the LWCF Act of 1965 and the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (EWRA) requirements, TPWD and community partners developed the Texas Wetlands Conservation Plan or TWCP. The TWCP focuses on non-regulatory, voluntary approaches to wetlands conservation that are supported through stakeholder-driven planning and coordination at regional levels. Consistent with the intent of the TWCP, a number of self-directed, local conservation partnerships have instituted individualized conservation plans that identify the most appropriate priority wetlands conservation strategies and actions for each respective region. Chapter 3 on Texas Wetlands was prepared by the Inland Fisheries, Habitat Conservation Branch and has been added to the 2012 TORP to align wetland conservation priorities with resources available through the LWCF program.

Economic Impact In the past 24 years, a variety of studies have been completed in Texas that demonstrate the value added to the local and state economies by the presence of parks and recreation facilities. The Recreation Grants Branch analyzed this research, summarized the economic impact, and identified some of the intrinsic economic values of outdoor recreation in Texas in Chapter 6.

Physical, Mental, and Social Well-being Values There is strong evidence to support the positive relationship between improved physical, mental, and social well-being, and direct access to parklands and outdoor recreation programs. The Recreation Grants Branch analyzed this information and provides an overview of the environmental, physical health, mental health, and social / community benefits provided through experiencing nature in Chapter 7.

Chapter 1 – Overview Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Sustainable Park Development Using sustainable techniques in the design and construction of public parks and other outdoor recreation supports the broader TPWD mission of managing and conserving the natural and cultural resources of Texas for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Chapter 8, authored by the Infrastructure Division, provides a starting point for recreation providers to help identify specific solutions for implementing sustainable design elements into the creation, construction, and maintenance of outdoor recreation lands across the state.

Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) Each year the LWCF apportionment is split between the State Park and the Local Park programs. As needs differ slightly for each program, separate project selection criteria have been developed respectively by the Executive Administration Land Acquisition Office and the Recreation Grants Branch. Scoring criteria were analyzed to insure that they support the priorities identified in the 2012 TORP. Additional information regarding the OPSP can be found in Chapter 10.

Document Review All members of the 2012 TORP planning team, in addition to the Project Management Office and executive management had the opportunity to review the document for content.

Furthermore, the draft was posted on the web for 30 days for public input. During the regularly scheduled TPWD Commission meeting on August 30, 2012, the draft was presented with the opportunity for additional public comment. The final review and approval in Texas is from the Governor’s Office, where the letter to the National Park Service (NPS) to submit the TORP is prepared. Any final revisions were incorporated, and the final version of the TORP was submitted to NPS.

Plan Limitations During the planning process the team faced several challenges that need to be recognized.

This endeavor started during a very difficult economic time for the United States. The 82nd Texas Legislature was looking at a $15-$27 billion shortfall for the 2012-2013 biennium. The result was a 21.5% budget cut for TPWD with a loss of over 200 positions. This included the suspension of all state grant funding and a 50% reduction in staff for the Local Park Grants Program.

In addition, record drought, devastating wildfires, and associated declines in park visitation and revenue created a time of critical need for our state parks. This equated to a limited budget for the 2012 TORP planning process, the loss of several key team members as part of the reduction in force, and a limitation of resources available.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 1 - Overview

A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Introduction Texas holds a special place in the hearts and minds of its citizens. The sheer size of the state and its richly varied landscape and history are among the reasons that Texans feel an incredibly strong sense of place and connection to the land, water, and wildlife.

Texas leads the nation by total number of participants in wildlife-associated recreation (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006). It is because of this special connection to nature that outdoor recreation and conservation efforts among Texans are a high priority.

As Texas is the second largest state in the nation, and one of the fastest growing in population; policy makers and government officials must be prepared to address the increasing demands for outdoor recreation opportunities.

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Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State

As the population dynamics are shifting, leaders must plan for the future; taking into consideration the evolving needs from the continuing rural to urban migration, changing demographics, and intensified pressure on our land, water, and wildlife resources.

Given the fact that Texas lands are 94% privately owned, involving landowners and educating urban dwellers about conservation efforts will be vital to preserving the wild Texas beauty that is so dear to the heart of our Texas family (Dunlap, 2006).

Moving forward, land preservation and water conservation are listed among the top state priorities. Adventure is a part of the Texas tradition and we must preserve our natural heritage so that our children and grandchildren may have the joy of exploring and learning first-hand about the wilder side of life in the Lone Star State.

People of Texas: Changing Demographics Results are out from the 2010 U.S. Census and according to the numbers, the great state of Texas is home to a fortunate 25,145,561 individuals. Based in the 2005 population projection scenarios generated by the Texas State Data Center, actual 2010 population numbers fall right in between the medium (0.5) to high (1.0) net migration projection scenarios; leading experts to anticipate a continued above average growth trend.

Figure 2.1 Texas Population Projected Growth Estimates 2000-2040 Source: (Texas State Data Center, 2008) Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Texas has grown at an alarming rate over the last ten years, at 20.

6% versus the national average growth of 9.7% (Murdoch, 2010). Given this dramatic increase in population since 2000, community demands for outdoor experiences are on the rise all across the state.

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Demographers predict that by 2040, more than 53% of the Texas population will be Hispanic and 32% will be Anglo (Texas State Data Center, 2008). This trend can be seen just in the population shift that has occurred since 2000 for Metropolitan Central City Counties, where the Hispanic community has increased by 81.5%, while the Anglo community has decreased by 6.1% (Murdoch, 2010). Engaging diverse audiences will become even more important in the years to come.

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As the urban population increases, so does the demand for improved access to outdoor recreational opportunities. Texans need preserved land where they can hike, bike, or just be. Direct experience with nature is vital to physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing and leads to a healthy understanding of our place in the world.

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Source: U.S. Census 2000 & 2010, P.L. 94-171 Prepared by the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University http://HobbyCenter.Rice.eud Rich Resources of Texas Texas is blessed with amazing biodiversity - home to nearly 800 species of fish, 425 species of butterflies, 634 species of birds, and over 4,600 species of native plants.

With 12 distinct ecoregions covering approximately 268,500 square miles, Texas has an astounding array of climates, soils and habitats (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2010). High Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan plains, wetlands, mountains, deserts, forests, and coastal marshes provide habitat for the fish and wildlife resources that help define the landscape.

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From spring-fed rivers flowing past towering cypress trees to coastal bays and wetlands teaming with plants, fish and wildlife, Texas waters are a source of beauty and wonder, and an essential life-supporting resource for animals, plants, and humans alike.

With over 191,000 miles of rivers and streams, seven major estuaries and approximately 200 major springs, Texas is blessed with a bounty of aquatic resources (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2010). The abundance and high quality of fishing opportunities within these waters is a major reason why Texas ranks second in the nation in the amount of money and number of days spent fishing (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006).

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Healthy ecosystems depend on careful and effective water management. The population of Texas is expanding rapidly, bringing incredible pressure to bear on all of the state’s natural resources, especially water.

Conservation Today, Texas is facing unprecedented conservation challenges. Several species of birds and mammals have already vanished from Texas, and many more are in danger.

Fortunately, Texans have long recognized the need for stewardship of the state’s land, water, fish, and wildlife and took action generations ago to protect the state’s natural heritage.

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TPWD currently operates 96 state parks and natural areas, 51 wildlife management areas and eight fish hatcheries, comprising 1.4 million acres that are managed in the public trust for recreation and conservation (Texas Parks and Wildlife, 2010). State parks and wildlife management areas offer a remarkable variety of opportunities to experience the outdoors. From the desert mountain sky islands of Big Bend Ranch State Park to the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area, TPWD maintains and provides outdoor experiences ranging from peaceful to exhilarating and from suburban oases to backcountry wilderness.

A Special Note on Water in Texas Water in Texas is sacred and while drought is not new to the arid state, in 2011 Texas experienced the worst one-year drought ever documented. That summer brought about the hottest experienced in recorded U.S. history, even beating out the 1934 record held Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan by Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl days (Dolce & Erdman, 2011). This drought has had overwhelming economic, environmental, and social repercussions for Texas.

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Estimates by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service put Texas agricultural losses for 2011 at $7.62 billion. A December economic analysis by BBVA Compass Bank found that indirect drought losses to the state’s agricultural industries could add another $3.5 billion to the toll (Combs, 2012).” Furthermore, there are untold thousands of dollars’ worth of infrastructure damage across the state from things like broken pipes and cracked concrete from shifting water tables. The Texas Forest Service has estimated that nearly 10% of Texas urban forests or 5.6 million urban trees have died as a result of this drought.

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Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Good news arrived in the early spring, with rainfall over large portions of the state. This released major areas of Texas from the “extreme” and “exceptional” drought categories.

And while more rain is needed, the rivers, lakes and aquifers are reviving.

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Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 2 – A Sense of Place: The Lone Star State Texas Wetlands Introduction In order to meet the requirements of the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (Public Law 99-645, S. 303, 1986) and to maintain eligibility of the state to participate in the LWCF Program, the TORP is required to either (a.) include a Wetlands Component that identifies wetland conservation goals, strategies and priorities, or (b.) develop a State Wetlands Priority Plan that is consistent with the National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan (NWPCP; USFWS, 1989). In fulfillment of these requirements, TPWD and partners developed the Texas Wetlands Conservation Plan (TWCP; TPWD, 1997). The TWCP focuses on non-regulatory, voluntary approaches to wetlands conservation supported through stakeholder-driven planning and coordination at regional scales.

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