The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking Texans to share stories and photos of their time enjoying outdoor pursuits on its 50th anniversary Web page as it celebrates the milestone, officially marking the event this summer.
In 1963 Texas lawmakers began consideration of House Bill 21, introduced by Weatherford state Rep. James M. Cotton. The measure, called for by Gov. John B. Connally as part of his campaign to modernize state government, would merge the Game and Fish Commission with the State Parks Board to create an agency dedicated to conservation, parks and outdoor recreation, according to a news release. The final bill passed in the Senate in early April and Connally later signed it into law with an effective date of Aug. 23.
The agency hopes Texans will sign up to become a Texas Parks and Wildlife ambassador and pledge to do things including visit state parks, take a child hunting or fishing and watch and share a video showcasing what’s made life better outside in Texas, according to the release.
“With all the bounty and beauty of our natural places, our parks, our wildlife, and with everything that’s at stake in our state today, we are excited about our 50th birthday,” said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith in the release, “but we don’t want it to be all about us, and we want to look to the future as we celebrate our past.”
Smith said the agency wants the celebration to focus on the people who support the department, and to inspire a new generation of supporters.
“We’re a successful organization in large part because of those who support us,” Smith said, “and we can’t fulfill our mission without help. If you love wildlife and parks, step up to be a TPWD ambassador and join us in shaping the Texas outdoors we want to see in the next 50 years.”