AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation board of trustees voted to donate $500,000 to Texas State Parks, hoping to encourage more donations to aid the state park system, which is facing a $4.6 million revenue shortfall caused by heat, drought, wildfires and a drop in park visitation.
“Our intent is to encourage many other donors large and small to step up and help keep our Texas State Parks open,” said Kelly Thompson, TPW Foundation board chairman. “Our mission is to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and there has never been a greater need for private support of our parks. We will be aggressively seeking donations for state parks from private individuals, corporate partners, and other foundations to help reach the $4.6 million goal.”
Not counting today’s foundation donation, more than $460,000 has been raised since Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials appealed for help Dec. 6. That includes online and mailed donations and contributions through the new Texas motor vehicle opt-in donation program.
“We are deeply grateful to the foundation for today’s generous contribution, and to all those who have donated in recent weeks,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “We have a long way to go yet, but with this gift we have raised close to $1 million toward our $4.6 million goal, a remarkable achievement in a short time. This is yet another indication of how much Texans care about their state parks.”
Park officials continue to stress three ways Texans can help keep state parks open:
- Go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/helpparks to make a tax-deductible donation.
- Make a donation when you renew your motor vehicle registration.
- Finally, because visitor fees pay for about half of park system operating costs, visit state parks often with family and friends.
Park leaders are continuing their call for people to visit state parks, touting cooler weather, parks greening after recent rains, and campfires now allowed again in almost every state park. Check each park’s web page online for the latest information.
To learn about the various Texas State Parks and their offerings, or to make online camping reservations, visit http://www.texasstateparks.org. Or call state park information at 1-800-792-1112, option 3, between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Resources for news media, including photos of drought and wildfires, downloadable video, and radio news soundbites, are in a Park Awareness News Roundup online.
Since 1991, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has been the official non-profit funding partner for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. By bringing together companies, corporations, communities and individuals, the Foundation has successfully raised more than $70 million benefiting a wide variety of projects.