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Wild Times May 2024

In just a couple of days, Debbie Richardson will embark on her 12th consecutive Texas Water Safari, dubbed the “World’s Toughest Canoe Race” for good reason. On June 8 participants will attempt to paddle 260 miles from the headwaters of the San Marcos River to the coast.

“The thing I really like about the Texas Water Safari is that things happen that you can't plan for. And that's how life is. You just have to go with the flow, and when obstacles pop up you have to figure out how you're going to get around them. And I think those are life lessons that we learn from being in nature.”

Debbie’s passion for Texas rivers is one of the reasons she’s serving as an ambassador for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s (TPWF) We Will Not Be Tamed campaign. The campaign calls us to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

Find out how you can join us at WeWillNotBeTamed.org

Story #2: Joining Together to Conserve the Devils River

Devils River is considered to be one of the most pristine rivers in the Southwest. It flows for more than 90 miles through some of the most remote and rugged terrain in Texas. For more than three decades Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has prioritized the Devils for ecological research, biological monitoring and natural and cultural resources conservation.

In 2011, TPWF led efforts to raise funds for an 18,000-acre tract with 10 miles of river frontage. A paddler camp and river takeout at the Dan Allen Hughes Unit of the Devils River State Natural Area now welcomes visitors by permit to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Texas.

Since 2011, with TPWF support, TPWD has expanded investments in scientific research to better understand the river. Partnerships with nonprofits like TPWF, The Nature Conservancy and the Devils River Conservancy will ensure the Devils will run clean and clear for future generations of wildlife, and people.

TPWF members support river conservation across Texas. By becoming a TPWF member, you can support TPWD’s Conserving Texas Rivers Initiative.

And now, thanks to one of TPWF’s Texas Trailblazing partners, Sportsman’s Finest, you can be entered to win a 2-day guided fishing trip. Sportsman’s Finest will also provide a fly-rod and reel setup for each of the anglers.

If you join or renew your membership with TPWF by July 15, you will be entered into the prize drawing.*

Join Now

*The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win the guided fishing trip and gear. Members who join by July 15 are automatically entered in the drawing. Lodging, meals and transportation to and from the experience are not included.

Story #3: Honoring Lone Star Land Stewards

Texas landowners from across the state were honored in Austin last month at the annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards dinner. Killam Duval County Ranch near Freer in South Texas was the recipient of the top award, the 2019 Texas Leopold Conservation Award. The prestigious award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation and management of natural resources by American ranchers, farmers and foresters. The award is presented by Sand County Foundation in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as part of the Lone Star Land Steward Awards program, which is supported by the nonprofit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

View the videos about how these landowners take care of their land for future generations.

Watch Video

Story #4: Gear Up for Game Wardens

Game Warden patrols in and around the Nueces and Frio rivers over the busy Memorial Day weekend came a little easier this year. That’s because of a new piece of specialty equipment provided by the Gear Up for Game Wardens program thanks to a generous donation from Women Who Wander Texas. The brand-new Utility Task vehicle (UTV), delivered to Uvalde-area game wardens just in time for the busy holiday weekend, was used to patrol more than 30 miles of riverbed, allowing game wardens to easily get to hard-to-reach stretches of the river. 

“Our main concern is making sure people are safe and are complying with the Texas Water Safety Code,” said Uvalde County Game Warden Rachel Kellner. “We’re also checking to be sure no one is operating a motor vehicle illegally in a freshwater riverbed, and complying with litter laws. We’re pleased to report not a single citation was issued over the holiday. We believe having the ability to be out there on the UTV was a huge deterrent to illegal activity over the holiday. We’re very grateful to the generous donors who are making it possible for us to obtain this specialty equipment.”

Learn More


Story #5: Going with the Flow


They don’t call the Texas Water Safari “the world’s toughest canoe race” for nothing! The annual event draws about 150 die-hard paddlers who test their mettle in a 260-mile canoe race from San Marcos to Seadrift. It's a grueling trip, one which few women attempt. We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador Debbie Richardson is one of the few, and this year's race will mark the 12th consecutive time she's competed. We caught up with her and first-time Texas Water Safari competitor Pam LeBlanc for a conversation about what it takes to train for such an endeavor. 




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