Although over 96% of Texas remains in private hands, we still have an amazing network of open spaces accessible to all Texans. That’s not only good for citizens, it also benefits our significant wildlife population whose management comes under the stewardship of the state’s Parks & Wildlife Department. State and federal regulations have helped us protect a number of endangered species including golden eagles, black bears, and sea turtles. Even our own white-tailed deer population, devastated by uncontrolled hunting in the first decade of the 20th century, is now a robust (and important economic) resource thanks to state wildlife management. Together with our national parks and forests, our wildlife refuges, our national seashore, and our state-managed lands, Texans have dozens of natural environments available for birding, hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, and wildlife watching. Our natural world provides more than just outdoor recreational opportunities and places to swim, camp, and hike. Connecting with the outdoors offers health benefits, both physical and emotional, providing an opportunity to sideline the pressures of jobs, family, and finances for a while and restore that important sense of peace, relaxation, and well-being.
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