This year, the month of July has been designated as National Parks & Recreation Month. It is important to recognize the importance of parks and recreation in establishing and maintaining quality of life and in contributing to the physical, economic, and environmental well-being of communities. In the United States, the month of July has been recognized as National Parks & Recreation Month since 1985. During this month, individuals and organizations work together to promote the benefits of local parks and recreation centers to communities and encourage people to get outside, explore local parks, and enjoy outdoor activities.
The state of Texas has 14 officially designated National Parks. Parks play an important role in environmental health by cleaning water, preserving wildlife, and offering a refuge to humans and animals throughout the seasons. Research suggests that exposure to nature improves creativity and reduces stress hormones in the brain. From Big Bend all the way down the Rio Grande River, our state is home to some truly beautiful parks. For a full list visit the National Park Service.
Our area is home to one of the most visited national parks in the state– the Padre Island National Seashore. Padre Island National Seashore is a national park located just outside of Corpus Christi and Port Aransas that includes about 70 miles of undeveloped beaches and natural habitat. Sea turtles, most commonly the Kemp’s Ridley, nest on the Texas coast anytime between April and August. During this time, the Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery work specifically to protect and preserve sea turtles and hatchlings. For almost its entire existence, Padre Island has remained undeveloped wilderness. Because the National Seashore endeavors to preserve Padre Island in its natural state, visiting the island is very much like stepping back into the past. With few exceptions, visitors can now see Padre Island as it has existed throughout most of its history and how it is described in the few extant descriptions by the early explorers.
Padre Island National Seashore has a wide variety of activities for everyone to enjoy its natural beauty and wonder. The most popular activities include camping, kayaking, fishing, birding, and watching the release of sea turtle hatchlings. However, this year in response to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the public sea turtle release events this summer are canceled. To get more information about the hatching releases visit the Padre Island National Seashore Hatchlings Release. To plan your visit, learn more information, and get updates, visit the PINS – Longest Stretch of Undeveloped Barrier Island in the World.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-463-0672.