Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

February 13, 2014

Park offering family camping workshops


— By TYLER MASK



Coming to Mineral Wells at the end of this month and leading into March are Texas Outdoor Family camping workshops, hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife.

There will be three events in all with the first one Feb. 28 - March 2. The other two workshops will occur March 21 - March 23 and March 28 - March 30. The ultimate purpose behind these events is to promote family time and healthy living

“We want to bring families from the Metroplex to a park they may never have known existed and we also want to provide local families with the opportunity for a close-to-home getaway and to try some new activities at their home park,” Outdoor Education Specialist Cassie Cox said.

For nearly five years, TPWD has hosted workshops at Lake Mineral Wells, generally occurring in both the spring and the fall. However, special to this year, they are offering three workshops during spring.

Cox hopes to alleviate the daily stresses of work and school by getting families out in the elements and having fun.

“I want to introduce them to the park and new activities like rock climbing, geocaching, fishing and kayaking, to name a few,” Cox said. “I want them to know of all the of the other parks in their area and all of Texas. The parks belong to Texans and we need their support and visitation to protect these special places for generations to come. At the end of the weekend I want families to be thinking about which park they’ll visit next and rethink how they spend their free time – Texas State Parks have so much to offer!”

The cost for families up to six is $85 per workshop. The workshops last from Friday evening to Sunday morning. Friday night, campers set up and do a few activities, but Saturday is when the real fun begins. Sunday morning, families pack up and head home.

One of the main events for the workshop starting on Feb. 28 is exploring Penitentiary Hollow and rock climbing. The workshop beginning on March 21 will contain kayaking and fishing, and the event starting on March 28 will also contain rock climbing.

TPWD provides all of the camping gear, and families will only be responsible for bringing sleeping bags and blankets. Once a family signs up, they will receive a full list of what TPWD provides along with some other things families may want to bring.

“We offer tents, air mattresses, camp stoves, lanterns, foam pads for the kids, pots and pans to use on the stove and a few other small items,” Cox said.

“Each family gets their own campsite near restrooms with hot showers. Campsites have water spigots and electrical outlets. The first workshop on Feb. 28 offers screened shelters for each family and a tent if they’d like to have one too. The rest of the workshops are tent only.”

Park Rangers will lead all weekend activities and camp nearby for the comfort and safety of every family.

To make a reservation, call TPWD’s reservation line at 512-389-8903. When families are making reservations, they can request to be near friends and other families of their choosing.

To find out more about each workshop, log on to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/programs/texas-outdoor-family/ and click on “Find a workshop near you!”

“Each workshop offers different activities which are listed on each individual workshop’s page,” Cox said. “Lake Mineral Wells is my favorite state park in the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area and I’m always telling families about the opportunity for exploring and adventuring in this beautiful place.”