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Join the 2013 Geocache Challenge - Begins Oct. 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 16 September 2012 12:55

Join the 2013 Geocache Challenge - Begins Oct. 1

Within our treasured parks, hunt for even more treasure. The upcoming 2013 Geocache Challenge is a great excuse to spend time in nature while you can practice your GPS skills hunting for hidden caches within participating state parks. Pick some basic tips in this Geocaching Intro video.

We have hidden a special geocache in many state parks, historic sites, and natural areas for you to find. The state will be broken up into seven different regions and a different prize will be available in each region.

Get ready with a Geocaching 101 workshop at a state park near you. Dozens of state parks will be hosting these September how-to-geocache workshops including teaching you what to bring with you.

Sign up to receive Geocache Challenge Updates by email.

Bringing the family or the neighborhood kids? Kids age 12 and under always get in free. But if your party consists of more than one adult / children over 12, you will save money by purchasing a Texas State Parks Pass. For $70 the pass will get you and all of the occupants of your vehicle into every state park at no cost for a full year. The Texas State Parks Pass can be purchased at any state parks or by calling (512) 389-8900.


Cache in to Treasure! Geocaching is the September Outdoor Activity of the Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Saturday, 08 September 2012 15:06

Cache in to Treasure! Geocaching is the September Outdoor Activity of the Month

October 2012 - Geocaching

Family geocaching in a state parkGo on a treasure hunt the whole family can enjoy- Geocaching!  Geocaching takes your child’s love for technology into the great outdoors.

What is geocaching? It’s a fun way to find hidden "caches" (prize-filled containers) placed by people all over the world using Global Positioning System (GPS) Devices based on satellites. The GPS Device shows you the latitude and longitude of where the cache is hidden.

You can buy a GPS Device from sporting goods stores or other outdoor outfitters.  Alternatively, there are many free apps that you can use with your smart phone’s GPS technology to join the fun. There are hundreds of caches in Texas State Parks waiting for your discovery! Visit www.texasstateparks.org/geocache for more information and to find coordinates.

Practice now to prepare for the statewide Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge, starting October 1, 2012!


Find a state park near you:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


Why kids need nature:

Texas Partnership for Children in Nature


Find nature near you:

Nature Rocks Texas



What to Bring

Smartphone / GPS Device / Geocaching App



Small, inexpensive prizes to put back into the cache


As Seen on TV

Austin:  KEYE TV/CBS

Brownsville/McAllen: KNVO Univision

Dallas: KTVT/CBS

Houston: KTRK/ABC and KXLN Univision

San Antonio: KSAT/ABC


Fun Ideas for Kids

Animal Trackers Game

Outdoor Kid Journal


Texas Outdoor Family Workshops

Go Fish! Learn to Fish Events

Neighborhood Fishin' Lakes


What Experts Say About the Benefits of Nature Play


Remember, pack out what you bring in: Leave No Trace!

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 September 2012 15:08
Discovering Hidden Fun at Texas State Parks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Saturday, 08 September 2012 15:57

Discovering Hidden Fun at Texas State Parks

Park Rangers Offering Trainings to Share Modern Treasure Hunt with Visitors

AUSTIN — Are you missing out on a modern day treasure hunt? You are if you’re not familiar with the sport of geocaching, the high-tech game that is growing in popularity. This exciting activity gets folks of all ages out of the house to explore the natural beauty that surrounds them and to burn a few calories, all while having a great time.

Texas State Park rangers at a number of parks around the state this month are offering visitors the chance to join in the fun by learning how geocaching works. Geocaching uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and devices like a Smartphone to guide players to the location of all types of hidden containers. “It is like a walking version of the navigational systems you use in your vehicles,” says Robert Owen, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ranger. “Some caches are easy, while others more difficult to find. It really gives you some flexibility when you pick your adventure for the day.

“If it is being played correctly, you won’t recognize someone who is geocaching,” Owen says. “Geocachers try to go unnoticed. They might be at your neighborhood baseball diamond or community park and they’re looking for hidden, or cached, items. If cachers are noticed, someone who doesn’t understand the game might remove the hidden item. Then the container is lost for other cachers that will surely come looking later. It’s a kind of a secret that more than 4 million people around the world are in on.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife wants to let you in on this not-so-secret hobby enjoyed by four million geocachers. Visit the TPWD website to learn the dates of more than30 Geocaching 101 workshops being held this September all over the state:   http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/geocaching.

Texas State Parks Announce Fall Camping Workshops for Outdoor Families PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Saturday, 08 September 2012 15:26

Texas State Parks Announce Fall Camping Workshops for Outdoor Families

Workshops address common concerns and removes barriers to enjoying outdoor recreation

AUSTIN – Texas Outdoor Family, a Texas State Park family camping program, announces 26 new workshops at state parks across Texas to teach families the basics of camping and enjoying the great outdoors. The program offers low-cost weekends to help families “unplug” and reconnect with nature and one-another.

"It’s not unusual to be a little intimidated to take the first step," says Ky Harkey, Outdoor Education team lead for Texas State Parks. "But once you do, it can open up a lifetime of adventure for you and your family."

During the overnight workshops, families learn the basic skills of pitching a tent and cooking outdoors, but workshops also focus on how to enjoy the parks through activities like kayaking, fishing, and geocaching – an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS technology.  Participants also learn how to protect their state parks through good stewardship and "Leave No Trace” principles.

"Our first family camping trip was an overwhelming success,” says Tony Williams, TOF graduate and father of two from San Antonio.  “My family now has the camping bug!  It keeps the boys away from the ‘screens’ and gets them more active.”

“In a time when kids are six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike or play outside, we’re proud to offer the first step to helping families get outdoors and enjoy their state parks,” says Harkey.

The cost of workshops starts at $65 per family (up to six people), and includes camping fees, instruction from rangers, equipment rentals, and all gear except food and bedding.  Families with no experience can show up with a few recommended household items and the rest of the weekend will be coordinated by program staff.

About Texas Outdoor Family

Texas Outdoor Family is a proactive program aimed at encouraging children and their decision makers (parents or guardians) to get outdoors and enjoy state parks.  The Texas Outdoor Family Program began in 2006 as an outreach and education effort offered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to address “Nature Deficit Disorder,” a term coined by author Richard Louv to describe the growing disconnect between families and nature.  The Texas Outdoor Family program has helped more than 2,500 families reconnect to state parks since its inception and has been replicated by several other states.

$10,000 Grant to Fund Bastrop State Park Trail Building PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Saturday, 08 September 2012 15:24

$10,000 Grant to Fund Bastrop State Park Trail Building

BASTROP – Bastrop State Park will use a $10,000 grant from Coca-Cola to underwrite the continued building of new park trails.

Bastrop State Park is receiving the grant in connection with Coca-Cola’s “America Is Your Park” campaign, in which parks nationwide competed to win the most votes for a top grant of $100,000. Bastrop State Park came in 12th with 661,565 votes.

“The tremendous support we received from people and companies for Bastrop State Park is testament to the special place this park holds in the minds and hearts of Texans,” said Brent Leisure, Texas State Parks director. “We are very appreciative of Coca-Cola’s $10,000 donation that will allow us to hire America’s YouthWorks to complete new trails in the park.”

Bastrop State Park has been making a strong comeback since last Labor Day Weekend’s horrific wildfire that burned most of the park.

Since last year’s tragic Labor Day fire that hit 96 percent of the 6,500-acre state park, more than $200,000 in donations for Bastrop State Park recovery have come from a variety of sources. The donations have helped TPWD initiate a contract with American YouthWorks to assist with restoration efforts that include clearing downed trees and other debris, restoring park trails and constructing hand-hewn pine log bridges.

Despite the destruction of much of its loblolly pine forests, Bastrop State Park is seeing the growth of some vegetation and the return of park customers who are coming to camp, rent a cabin, fish, play golf and picnic.  Visitors can stay at all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs, and most of the park trails have been reopened.

For more information on the America Is Your Park campaign, visit http://www.livepositively.com.

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