Texas State Parks Promote Family Camping
Less than a year old, the Texas Outdoor Family (TOF) program has already reached more than 800 happy campers through more than a dozen events held at Texas state parks throughout south and central Texas. This spring, TOF staff and volunteers will expand the innovative outdoor camping program’s reach into north Texas and the Texas Panhandle, according to Pegasus News, Dallas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program appears not only to be removing barriers to enjoying camping and the great outdoors, but also to be reaching into urban communities to attract a diverse clientele, according to program coordinator Chris Holmes. So far, roughly two-thirds of the TOF participants have been non-Anglo, he says.
Each Texas Outdoor Family workshop is similar, but some activities are geared to the individual park’s natural resources that, for instance, might include kayaking if the park is located on a lake or river.
The workshop costs $55 per family (up to six people), and includes individual camping sites for each family, restrooms with hot showers, professional park ranger-led programs and instruction, overnight state park police officer public safety and security, and state park Junior Ranger certification program. The TOF program follows the "Leave No Trace" philosophy so it’s environmentally friendly.
Toyota has come on board as a sponsor of Texas Outdoor Family, helping provide funding for equipment to make the weekend workshops possible, and more sponsors are being sought who want to help introduce families to nature and the outdoors.