FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2014
(LAREDO) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, encourages Senate District (SD) 21 constituents to join volunteers in celebrating National Public Lands Day (NPLD) at events throughout Central and South Texas on Saturday (Sept. 27). NPLD is the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.
"Our parks and public lands are wonderful assets that impact positively the quality of life in our communities," the senator said. "They not only promote conservation and educate Texans about our natural resources, but also encourage active lifestyles and provide significant economic benefits."
Saturday's NPLD events include:
- In Wilson County volunteers will participate in land- and paddle-based opportunities to clean the new Helton-San Antonio River Nature Park, eradicate invasive species and restore scenic views of the San Antonio River. The volunteer efforts will be followed by a ceremonial tree-planting to mark the park's grand opening.
- In Travis County the Austin Parks Foundation and the Texas Conservation Corps will host volunteer clean-up events at 34 locations throughout Austin.
- In South Bexar County volunteers will help perform trail maintenance at the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and participate in gardening activities.
- In the Coastal Bend the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge will host birding walks, hiking, presentations and pier fishing; and the National Park Service and the Texas General Land Office will host a volunteer beach clean-up event on Padre Island National Seashore.
Information about these and other events throughout Texas is available via www.publiclandsday.org.
A member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Senator Judith Zaffirini champions Texas' state parks and public lands and the abundant recreational and educational opportunities they provide for SD 21 families.
The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) operates six state parks in seven SD 21 counties, namely, Lockhart, Caldwell County; Choke Canyon, McMullen; Lake Corpus Christi, San Patricio; McKinney Falls, Travis; Lake Casa Blanca, Webb; and Falcon, Zapata and Starr.
TPWD is headquartered in SD 21 and is overseen by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, chaired by Dan Hughes Jr. of Bee County. Senator Zaffirini sponsored his gubernatorial nomination.
The agency employs more than 3,000 Texans and operates an internship program that allows college students to gain hands-on experience in fields related to natural resources.
"Texas state parks boost local economic activity, particularly in rural counties," Senator Zaffirini said. "They create jobs directly, enhance sales and property tax revenue for local governments and benefit nearby restaurants, retail and other businesses."
Communities throughout Senate District 21 are investing in parks and public lands, and Senator Zaffirini prioritizes legislation and funding supporting them. A member of the Senate Finance Committee, she has helped secure more than $448 million for TPWD since 2005, including a 16 percent funding increase during the 2013 legislative session. In 2009 she also secured $5.5 million for a special needs park in Bexar County.
In 2014 Senator Zaffirini joined La Salle County leaders in celebrating the rededication of Martinez Park, which is being expanded after voters approved $8 million in bond funding.
She also supported efforts in Guadalupe County to expand the Walnut Creek Trail and Greenbelt, supported by a $1.8 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI speaks at the dedication of the Joe Gulley Park in Karnes County. A member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, she champions Texas' parks and public lands.