Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Tree Drop Off

If you had a live Christmas tree this year, you need to know where to dispose of it, unless you have enough room for a nice brush pile on your own property.

The City of Wichita Falls Sanitation Department has opened locations at Lucy Park (at the back of the park near the river) and Kiwanis Park (next to the park maintenance building near the entrance to the park) for easy disposal of natural Christmas trees. The free drop-off areas are open twenty-four hours a day.

Only real trees that have been completely stripped of the tree stand, all decorations and lights will be accepted. No artificial trees will be accepted. The trees will be recycled as mulch and used around trees, shrubs and flower beds in each park. 

City residents can also use the Landfill or Transfer Station for FREE tree disposal anytime during normal operating hours. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of these disposal methods, as there is no curbside pickup of Christmas trees. Trees left out by the curb will not be picked up by sanitation crews. 

If you choose,  you may also drop off trees at the Inland Fisheries office at 409 Chester Avenue (off Old Jacksboro Hwy). Those trees are used to improve fish habitat at Lake Arrowhead State Park.

Water Continues to Be Lead Story in 2012

Texas Monthly had an article on their website about the continuing drought. We've had some rain lately and everything is green (or as green as it gets in this part of the world) but locally we are still a foot below our annual rainfall normal. In some places in Texas, it is worse than that. With the exception of the moronic statement leading the article about Perry's Presidential candidacy being an important Texas issue, the rest of the article sums up some of the impacts the drought is having on the state.

This points out the need to continue to conserve water. Plant drought resistant plants and water only when needed. For more water conservation tips, see the City of Wichita Falls website.

If you would like to learn more about the future climate in our area and the likelihood of continuing drought, make time to attend the League of Women Voters meeting on Wednesday, January 4, at Luby's cafeteria. Bryan Rupp, meteorologist, is the featured speaker, presenting "Future Climate of the Rolling Plains." The meeting begins at noon and is open to the public. Just go through the line for your meal and be seated by the noon start. The meeting ends at 1:00 PM.

Monday, December 26, 2011

First Day in the Parks

Whether you've been naughty or nice, we hope you'll join us Jan. 1 for 1st Day HikeTexas Parks and Wildlife Department is offering hikes at state parks.  Our own Lake Arrowhead State Park is offering two hikes one short and one of 5.5 miles starting at 2:30 pm.  Click on the link above and scroll down to Lake Arrowhead SP for information.  Always a good chance to see wildlife out at the park.  As you know our state parks are in desperate need of money and the best way to raise that money is to increase participation at the park.  It costs $3.00 to get into the park … a very small sum indeed.  Or buy an annual park pass for $70.00

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Outdoor Photography Contest

The Clay County Pioneer Sentinel is running an outdoor photography contest. I know many readers of this blog are darn good photographers, so enter! More information can be found here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Plea from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Well, folks, we all know that the Texas State legislature cut a lot of budgets this year in an unsuccessful attempt to balance the budget (although most of the hoopla out of the legislature made it sound like they balanced the budget--that was all smoke and mirrors.) One of the budgets cut tremendously was the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

State parks are in serious financial trouble. There are some in the state who would like nothing better than to sell off parkland to private persons and entities to raise money for state expenditures. Although the parks are public land held in trust for the public, the legislature doesn't consider them a priority. Therefore, private citizens must come to the rescue. Texas Parks and Wildlife has issued a plea to raise $4.6 million through public donations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. I made a small donation today.

If you have the resources, please consider a contribution to this foundation or to your local Friends group.  Many parks have a 501(c)(3) Friends group to raise money for park improvements and to provide volunteer labor for projects the park doesn't have the manpower to do. Our local Lake Arrowhead State Park started a Friends group this past year. It is too new to be listed on the TPWD site yet, but should be soon as the Memorandum was recently signed. The group meets the first Thursday of each month at 7PM. If you don't have a lot of spare money, consider donating time.

Other ways to help are to visit the park and pay the entry fee ($3 per person at Lake Arrowhead) or purchase an annual park pass for admission to all of the state parks for a year.

Other organizations are getting involved to help increase attendance at the parks. For example, the Texas Ornithological Society is sponsoring a series of bird walks in state parks over the next several months to draw attention to the birdwatching opportunities and to bring in additional visitors.  I will be leading monthly bird walks at Lake Arrowhead State Park beginning in March. I'll post reminders in my sister blog, A Charm of Finches.

If we want parks to be here for future generations, we are going to have to make a personal commitment to do what we can to support the parks we have.