TPWD: New Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Plots Future for Parks, Healthy Lifestyles

Besides Recommendations, Plan Compiles Research on Health, Economics,
Texas' Future

AUSTIN – The latest Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan calls for more
trails and greenways to encourage active lifestyles, new parks in or
near urban areas, better access to public waters, and a review of
local park grant rules to make the most of limited dollars, among
other recommendations. Besides ways to improve, the plan is chock full
of interesting research findings pulled from many sources.

The plan ticks off a sobering list of challenges facing the Lone Star
State, including how it's a predominately urban society where
children are becoming less connected to nature and the outdoors.
Partly because of this increasingly "indoor" culture, obesity and
health care costs are on the rise statewide. And, like the rest of
America, Texas is recovering from the biggest recession since the
Great Depression, creating budget challenges for public funds. Plus,
the state has been rocked by natural disasters such as record drought
and wildfires, and water resources are becoming strained.

However, the plan points hopefully to a body of research that makes
the case for investing in outdoor recreation and parks solutions. For
example, a key finding in a review of more than 200 research studies
by the American Heart Association in 2011 was that every $1 spent on
building biking trails and walking paths would save an estimated
nearly $3 in medical expenses. (Trust for America's Health, 2012)

Read more

City Seeks Volunteers to Serve on Boards, Commissions

The City of San Marcos is seeking to fill more than 20 City boards and commissions with dedicated volunteers.

Citizens may fill out volunteer interest forms and send them to the City Clerk’s office by Monday, Feb. 4 to be considered for appointment. The volunteer forms are available at and may be filled out and submitted online. The forms may also be mailed to the City Clerk’s office, 630 E. Hopkins, San Marcos Texas 78666 or faxed to 855-246-9100.

Qualifications, duties and the length of service vary according to the board. The City Council appoints members to the following boards and commissions (boards with * have special requirements for some or all positions):

1. Airport Commission *
2. Animal Shelter Advisory Committee *
3. Arts Commission *
4. Citizen Utility Advisory Board*
5. Construction Board of Adjustments of Appeals
6. Cemetery Commission (staff appointed)
7. Charter Review Commission *
8. Civil Service Commission (City Manager Appointment) *
9. Convention & Visitor Bureau *
10. Economic Development Board *
11. EMS Board *
12. Ethics Commission *
13. Historic Preservation Commission *
14. Housing Authority*
15. Human Services Advisory Board *
16. Library Board *
17. Main Street Advisory Board *
18. Neighborhood Commission *
19. Parks & Recreation Board *
20. Planning & Zoning Commission *
21. San Marcos Industrial Development Corp.
22. Senior Citizen Advisory Board (staff appointed)
23. Sunset Review Commission *
24. Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee *
23. Zoning Board of Adjustments *

Residents are asked to submit their interest forms by Monday, Feb. 4. The City Council is scheduled to review the applications and make appointments at the Feb. 5, 2013 City Council meeting. Terms will begin on March 1, 2013.

San Marcos Comp Plan Committees Seek Public Input

Open House Wednesday, January 23, from 3-7 pm at the San Marcos Activity Center.
This is a come-and-go event.

“We have had great participation from the community throughout this process,” said Bill Taylor, Chair of the Steering Committee. “As we near completion of the plan, this open house provides an opportunity to review the preferred scenario map, as well as the vision, goals and objectives for the plan.”

The open house will be a come-and-go event with displays of the preferred scenario map, as well as the vision, goals and objectives. Committee members and City staff will be available to answer questions and receive residents’ suggestions. The Comp Plan process began by developing a vision for the city’s future growth and development. Then goals were approved by City Council.

Now, the Citizen Advisory and Steering Committees are drafting objectives that will identify specific tasks that need to be accomplished to realize those goals. The Comprehensive Plan, now known as Vision San Marcos: A River Runs Through Us, has been created, updated and scrutinized by the best experts – San Marcos citizens.

"The committees have been working long hours drafting objectives to achieve the vision and goals and to support the preferred scenario created by the public during the design rodeo,” said Jane Hughson, chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee. “We are looking forward to discussing them with the community and hearing their thoughts and ideas.”

The committees will get their chance to hear residents’ thoughts and ideas not only during the open House, but also when they visit with groups around town during the Speakers Bureau Presentations. For the complete calendar of events and other information regarding the Vision San Marcos plan and process, visit or email

Save the Date: Annual Meeting January 26

Save the date! The SMGA Annual Meeting will take place on Saturday, January 26, at the Price Center from 3-5 pm.

Scott Parker with the Trust for Public Land will provide an update on the Purgatory Creek Natural Area expansion project, and a representative from Vision San Marcos will discuss the Comprehensive Master Plan.

Email us at for more information. All are welcome to attend!

Purgatory Creek Expansion Update

Austin-American Statesman
We are now expecting the City Council to receive the expansion item for approval in later January. In the meantime, read this exciting article about the potential expansion from the Austin-American Statesman.

Cape's Camp on Monday January 7th Agenda

On Monday, January 7 at 7 pm the City Council will receive a staff presentation and hold a public meeting to receive comments regarding the Cape's Camp and Thompson's Island zoning amendments. Please email comments to or attend the public meeting.
As the San Marcos River flows east beyond IH-35, it rounds two horseshoe bends, then cascades over a dam built in the 1800s. Across from the dam, the grassy fields of Cape’s Camp lie along the river’s northern bank. Straight ahead are the massive hardwood trees that shade Thompson’s Island.

Whether the two parcels of privately owned property should be preserved as 70 acres of riverfront parks, or developed in part as student housing is now up to San Marcos City Council to decide.

For more on this story go to:

Trail Rx for San Marcos

Several communities in the United States have developed “Trail Prescription” programs. A Trail Prescription is a document like a prescription written by a health practitioner directing a patient to use the parks and trails of the community a specific number of times at a specified distance. The goals are to encourage more exercise, introduce patients to the public areas available to them, and reduce obesity, especially in young people.

The idea is simplicity itself. Medical professionals use the local resources to encourage positive actions in patients. There is virtually no cost to the community, yet studies have shown the positive physical and psychological effects of outdoor exercise. Developing habits of outdoor activity is especially important among the young.

During the fall semester Michael Gonzales, an intern from the Geography Department, researched the subject for SMGA. His report, available below, details programs from Albuquerque, San Francisco and elsewhere. His work shows that a community effort is needed to get such a program off the ground.

Obviously SMGA is in favor of programs that increase the use of the parks and natural areas. As a volunteer organization, however, SMGA cannot take this on alone. We would need someone to lead this effort. We should identify all the community groups which would have an interest in Trail Prescriptions. We will need an inventory of the available walking areas and their difficulty so physicians can prescribe appropriate walks. We would need help in developing the printed materials (you may see some materials in Michael’s presentation). Finally we would need help training medical personnel in the program.

Anyone interested in participating in this program as a leader or student intern should send an email to

Connecting Greenways - San Antonio

SMGA continues to advocate for an interconnected system of parks and natural areas by participating in the city of San Marcos master planning process. If San Marcos can manage to include greenway corridors in its master plans then we could save ourselves a lot of money and reduce hassles in the future. Brandon Ross, featured in the story and audio link below, told SMGA last spring that San Antonio would have had a much easier time creating a much better greenway system if they had only planned for their greenways decades ago. Greenways provide a long list environmental, economic and health benefits for the community. If you know one of the master plan committee members or have a chance to speak with one of our planning and zoning commissioners or city council members please let them know how vital a greenway system is...t.o.d.

Purgatory Creek Natural Area Bandanas

The map the PCNA's 570 acre natural area on the city's northwest side is displayed on the colorful bandana available for sale.  Each 20" square bandana is 100% cotton and available in either red, blue, white or yellow.  The map was created by cartographer, Kenny Skrobanek and shows the three trail heads at Craddock, Prospect and Hunter.

While the map is not designed as the only navigation tool, the bandana  is helpful in listing all the approved trails that course through the area including the 4.1 mile Dante's Trail, the longest of the 10 trails. An exciting addition to the map is the elevation changes throughout the natural area.  Mountain bikers and hikers alike will appreciate the graphic display of elevation and dry creek streams which equate to a rocky surface and a challenging adventure.

The bandanas will be available at the annual meeting January 26 at the Price Center.  If you can't wait that long check out the Saturday farmers' market on the Square for sale by cooperating vendors. A limited number of bandanas are available for sale at $10 each.