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Showing posts from March, 2009

State Parks - Improve – not remove.

Can a person camp without a campfire? Sure. Can a family still have fun camping without a campfire? We did. I am simply writing about the burn ban and the effect it had on the general population using one of our State parks.

My issue is simple. If there is a chance a campfire will get out of control from one of these fire rings - then engineering controls need to be amended, so it can't happen. Banning campfires and charcoal from picnic braziers is not the answer. Banning fire period literally caused MFSP to be basically empty during Spring Break and the sign at the front gate said "No occupancy".

The reason for this was all the sites were booked and paid for in advance, but the burn ban caused many to reconsider. I do not believe it was the rain, as it came and went both days with plenty of sunshine afterward and Saturday was dry and cool - perfect weather.

As far as "Engineering controls" go, a few issues that could be covered are this:

1. Short class at the stat…

Texas State Burn Bans Ruin Camping!

Texas County Commissioners issue burn bans which effectively stop campers from campfire camping or cooking on charcoal in state parks. I witnessed and experienced this first hand this past Spring Break weekend at McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, Texas.

See the first video here.

In order to reserve a camp site at many Texas state parks, it is necessary to book months in advance and this I did. Since Texas is a big state and has very little public land, camping in a park is what most of us are forced to do or we will have no place to camp. I booked this campsite January 20th, 2009.

Upon arrival at the Park Thursday March 26th, I was informed there was an "extreme burn ban" in effect and no campfires or charcoal cooking or fires would be allowed under heavy penalty. I informed the Rangers that I had checked the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site daily and it showed Travis County this very morning as not being under a burn ban and they said I was wrong, as they had checked …

BB eats Chicken-Fried Bacon at the Houston Rodeo!

We are constantly being told what we should eat and many delicious foods are now socially taboo. I contend that many delicious foods, eaten in moderation are still a very viable option, so to back up my beliefs with action, here I am eating what some folks would scream in hysteria if someone suggested they try it.

Folks, I give you chicken-fried bacon!

BB eats the Cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped hot dog

We are constantly being told what we should eat and many delicious foods are now socially taboo. I contend that many delicious foods, eaten in moderation are still a very viable option, so, to back up my beliefs with action, here I am eating what some folks would scream in hysteria if they had to eat it.

Folks, I give you the cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped hot dog!

One Foot in Front of the Other

I met my old Air Force buddy, John Graham at the park entrance of yes – Brazos Bend State Park today. After he read my last hike report, he begged me to go on the “next one”. Who am I to deny a friend a good trail hike?

We both had hydration day packs on and since it rained about an inch over the last week, mosquitoes were expected, but thanks to liberal amounts of Deet, they never appeared, or were absent – I don’t know or care as long as they left us alone.

Wonderful 58 degree weather, clear skies and low humidity were welcome signs, but 80 degree temps were predicted, so after donning our gear, we shoved off towards the east side of 40-Acre lake.

This was John’s first trip to BBSP and he was game to do a long hike. So was I, but since the temperature rise was going to seriously affect us, I plotted a ten-miler. We ended up going about 12 miles and both of us were trail weary by the time we came back to where we started. Wait until July in Texas and a ten-miler will be impossible…

Banging my Foots on the Trail

I guess I’m the proverbial glutton for self-abuse. Only a week has gone by and I’ve went hiking again and I blasted off like I was a spring chicken after working a shift at the Chemical Plant that pays my bills.

I blame Brazos Bend State Park, its wildlife and the Staff that maintains this great Park for drawing me back so soon, plus the fact that American alligator breeding season is in full heat. If you want to see gators, now is the time to go where they live.

I made the hour and twenty minute drive from Baytown to the Needville, Texas State Park (BBSP) and pulled in the Ranger station right about 8am. I was greeted by a friendly Hispanic Ranger and I attempted in my meager Spanish to ask about mosquitoes. She instantly warmed up to me and told me in Spanish that zancudos were no problemos right now due to the dry weather.

I parked in the first lot, next to the bathroom facilities and made my way down the short Prairie Trail towards the 40 Acre Lake.

Right off the bat I noticed t…

BB Hikes the Brazos Bend SP Trails

I’m fresh off the Pedernales Falls State Park camp-out; my coat still has the faint scent of wood smoke and I decided I just had to go check out another set of trails. I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more trail-hiking, to plagiarize Christopher Walken’s famous line.

Now I have reservations for a 4 day campout at McKinney Falls State Park in three weeks and since there is a burn ban in effect there, I’m cancelling it and going back to Pedernales Falls, where they will let you have a campfire. Anyway, even though I have a trip planned, I still want to go hiking and I want to do it anytime I get the chance, so here is how it all went down this week.

Back about ten years ago, my bride and I drove through BBSP (Brazos Bend State Park) and basically stayed in the car and visited whatever was viewable from the front seat – hardly the best way to see nature and this was my meager memory of the Park. However, we now have the Internet at our fingertips and the great State of Texa…