STATE PARKS HOST RITA EVACUEES, GAME WARDENS PREP FOR RESCUE WORK – Lake Mohave

AUSTIN, Texas – As Hurricane
Rita bears down on the Texas coast, coastal state parks are temporarily
closing, while others open their doors at no cost to hurricane
evacuees. Meanwhile, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game
wardens, many of them fresh from Katrina duty in New Orleans, are
staging for a possible new round of rescues in their home state.
(The Governor’s Emergency Management Council is coordinating Rita
response for all state agencies, including TPWD game wardens.)

– Lake Mohave

The entire field force of 495 Texas
game wardens with approximately 500 boats is on standby for search and
rescue operations as needed. Boats, fuel, manpower and all
available resources are ready, with staging locations along the coast
identified. The Rockport district office, La Marque district
office, Victoria district office, Freeport field office and Houston
Communications Center of TPWD’s Law Enforcement Division are closing to
comply with mandatory evacuation orders.

All coastal
wildlife management areas are closing temporarily due to Rita, a move
that is shutting down several public hunts scheduled by the Wildlife
Division for this weekend at various sites. This includes cancellation
of public waterfowl hunts through Sept. 25 at closed coastal state
parks and at Peach Point, Mad Island, Matagorda Island, J.D. Murphree,
Guadalupe Delta WMAs. Likewise, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division
offices have been evacuated and closed. Boats and fuel supplies
managed by both divisions are being moved to safe areas, ready for use
by enforcement and rescue authorities as needed.

On
Tuesday, all Texas state parks were notified that Hurricane Rita
evacuees will be allowed to use state parks as evacuation centers for
the duration of the storm. Campsite and entrance fees will be
waived during that time. Evacuee use pertains to inland sites,
since coastal state parks are closing, as listed below.
Additional state parks not shown below may also close as conditions
change.

” Brazos Bend – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Choke Canyon – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Fairfield – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Falcon – OPEN for now – Accepting evacuees

” Fulton Mansion – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/28

” Galveston – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Goliad – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Goose Island – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Huntsville – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Inks Lake – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Martin Dies – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Matagorda Island – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Mustang Island – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Lake Casa Blanca – OPEN for now – Accepting evacuees

” Lake Corpus Christi CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Lake Houston – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Lake Texana – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Lake Livingston – Possible CLOSING – Evacuees are able to stay in the park for now

” Sabine Pass Battlegrounds – CLOSED 9/21 – 9/25

” San Jacinto – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Sea Rim – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Sheldon Lake – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

” Stephen F. Austin – CLOSING 9/22 – 9/25

” Varner Hogg – CLOSING 9/21 – 9/25

For
the latest information on state park temporary closures and state parks
able to host hurricane evacuees, phone the TPWD state park Customer
Service Center reservations line at (512) 389-8900. A complete
list of state parks, including a statewide map and regional maps
showing park locations, is on the TPWD Web site.

– Lake Mohave

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