New state park near Brownsville, Texas
Resaca de la Palma State Park recently opened to become Texas’ newest state park and the eighth link in the World Birding Center chain stretching the breadth of the Rio Grande Valley.
The 1,200-acre park near the southernmost tip of Texas is the largest of the nine sites that make up the World Birding Center, which stretches some 120 miles along the wildlife-rich Rio Grande corridor from Roma to South Padre Island. The final link in the birding center chain is South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center, which is expected to open in the spring of 2009.
Not a state park in the traditional sense, Resaca de la Palma caters to bird-watchers, butterfly enthusiasts, and other nature lovers who seek an up-close view of wildlife in a natural setting that includes a restored resaca (an ancient coil of a riverbed once filled by Rio Grande floodwaters), marshes, dense thorn-scrub, and mature palm and ebony forests.
This day-use park has four observation decks, a picnic area, a visitors center, an interpretation hall, and numerous trails, some handicapped-accessible. There are more than 8 miles of dirt hiking trails, including a half-mile trail that is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and a paved 3.5-mile tram loop. The park will have bird walks, nature walks, and bike tours.
Resaca de la Palma attracts more than 250 species of birds due to its diverse habitats, its location along two American migratory flyways, and its proximity to Mexico and Central America, some of whose bird species range only as far north in the United States as Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
Park admission is $4 for adults and free to children 12 and under. Visitors must park at the visitors center and walk, bicycle, or take the park’s tram into the park. The tram ride is included in the required entrance fee, and visitors can rent binoculars, bicycles, and tricycles for an additional daily fee.
Resaca de la Palma is located at 1000 New Carmen Blvd. in Brownsville. Visitors can take FM 1732 to New Carmen Boulevard. For more information, call (956) 350-2920 or visit www.worldbirdingcenter.org/sites/brownsville.
Arizona BLM camping fee increases proposed
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Kingman Field Office recreation staff has proposed raising camping fees at three northwestern Arizona campgrounds and is asking for public comment on the proposed increases.
BLM Kingman has published the Kingman Amenity Fee Sites Draft Business Plan, which explains how fees have been spent in the past and how the Kingman Field Office plans to use fee revenues in the future.
As detailed in the Draft Business Plan, the Burro Creek Campground individual sites would increase from $10 per night to $14, and group sites would increase from $30 to $50. Wild Cow Springs Campground individual sites would change from $5 per night to $8, and group sites from $15 to $20. At Windy Point Campground, individual sites would go from $4 to $8.
“Increasing camping fees is one of the least popular things we do,” said BLM Kingman resources manager Jackie Neckels. “But cutting services such as supplying running water, garbage pickup, and offering dump stations are equally unpopular.”
According to a BLM press release, camping fees at the Kingman facilities have not changed in 10 years, while the costs of labor and fuel have risen. It notes that proposed fee changes are commensurate with fees charged at campgrounds with similar amenities within a 150-mile radius of Kingman.
BLM managers at the Kingman office would like to hear from people about the proposed fee changes and the priorities for how those fees will be spent at the recreation sites. Comments will be accepted until April 30, 2009.
The Draft Business Plan is available online at www.az.blm.gov. The document also may be reviewed at the Kingman Field Office (2755 Mission Road, Kingman, AZ 86401) or a hard copy may be requested by calling (928) 718-3700.
National Park Service launches travel itinerary on U.S. presidents
The National Park Service now offers a Discover Our Shared Heritage online travel itinerary that explores the lives and contributions of all 43 U.S. presidents through George W. Bush.
The American Presidents Travel Itinerary features the White House and more than 70 other sites nationwide that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Almost half of the sites are also part of the national park system.
The itinerary can be found at www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/presidents/index.html and offers descriptions of the significance of each historic site; information and maps; contemporary and historic photographs; two essays by highly respected presidential historians; and a “Learn More” section that includes links to additional information, a bibliography on the presidency, and tourism Web sites to help with trip planning.
The American Presidents itinerary is the 47th in the National Park Service’s ongoing Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Series. The series promotes public awareness of history and encourages visits to historic places throughout the country. All of the itineraries in the series can be found at www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel.
Amadas Coach acquires Featherlite Coaches
Amadas Coach, based in Suffolk, Virginia, announced that it has acquired the brands, intellectual property, and manufacturing rights of Featherlite Coaches Inc., effective December 17, 2008.
Amadas will continue the sales, service, and warranty support of the Featherlite Coach brand through a select network of authorized dealers. Featherlite Coaches Inc. will close out its current inventory of new coaches and complete manufacturing of the coaches it has in process at its factory. Amadas will then assume production of the Featherlite Coach product line.
Featherlite Coaches in Sanford, Florida, will continue as the exclusive Featherlite Coach dealer for Florida under the name Featherlite Coaches of Florida.
For more information, visit www.amadascoach.com or www.featherlitecoaches.com.
Bigfoot Industries closes
Bigfoot Industries, based in Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada, ceased operations on November 21, 2008, after 31 years in business, citing economic conditions.
The company, which manufactured Type C motorhomes, truck campers, and travel trailers, was one of Canada’s largest recreation vehicle manufacturers. It employed approximately 200, although about one-third of them were laid off in June 2008.