Series may turn eyes to state parks

AUSTIN—Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' PBS series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," which aired last week, is firing the public imagination about parks at a time when the Texas State Parks system is reinventing itself to engage a new generation of visitors.

State park officials hope to capitalize on the enthusiasm, reminding Texans their own system of 93 sites has a diverse history that includes new offerings for the 21st century.

Months before the series, TPWD video producers began communicating with Texas public TV stations about possibly providing video material to run alongside the Burns series.

Producer Ron Kabele ended up putting together four 20- minute state park specials using material produced for the weekly, half-hour series Texas Parks & Wildlife that airs on all Texas PBS stations.

The TPWD episodes will run during fall pledge drives, with Texas stations running the modular episodes for 20 minutes, then soliciting viewer pledge calls for 10 minutes.

The state park specials brief feature introductory and closing comments by TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith, shot at McKinney Falls State Park.

Visitors to the Texas Parks and Wildlife YouTube Channel can view more than 120 short videos online. This includes more than 75 videos showcasing nature, history and things to do at individual state parks across Texas. The department's YouTube channel is one of four "social media" outlets TPWD is currently piloting, the others being Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

TPWD YouTube videos cover individual state parks, fishing, hunting, wildlife, boating safety, how-to topics and news reports on a variety of subjects.

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2009-10-08 digital edition

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