Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 585,375. The county seat is Richmond, while its largest city is Sugar Land. The county was founded in 1837 and is named for a blockhouse at a bend of the Brazos River; the fort was the start of the community in early days. Fort Bend County is included in Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. Since the 1970s Fort Bend County has been one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States.

Joe Pool Lake

Joe Pool Lake is a fresh water impoundment (reservoir) located in the southern part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in North Texas. The lake encompasses parts of Tarrant, Dallas and Ellis counties. The lake measures with a conservation storage capacity of . With a maximum depth of the lake drains an area of . Joe Pool Lake was named after Joe Pool, a congressman from the Oak Cliff area of Dallas who represented this district from 1963 until his death in 1968. Pool was highly influential in passage of legislation and funding of the lake.

Briscoe County, Texas

Briscoe County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of 2010 census, the population was 1,637. Its county seat is Silverton. The county is named for Andrew Briscoe, a soldier during the Texas Revolution. At one time, the large JA Ranch, founded by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, reached into Briscoe County. After he left the JA, Goodnight owned the Quitaque Ranch. The prominent high school football and college coach Gene Mayfield was born in Briscoe County in 1928. Caprock Canyon State Park and Trailway is located in Briscoe County.

Mexican free-tailed bats

The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat and Austonian bridge bat, is a medium-sized bat that is native to the Americas and is widely regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. However, its proclivity towards roosting in large numbers in relatively few roosts makes it especially vulnerable to human disturbance and habitat destruction, and declining numbers at some roosts such as in the western state of Utah have been documented. In the western coastal state of California, the bat is considered a species of special concern as a result of declining populations. The species’ winter migratory habits and destination points are still relatively unknown. The Mexican free-tailed bat is the official state bat of both Oklahoma and Texas, and its image is the icon for the Bacardi rum brand and for Freetail Brewing Company in San Antonio, TX.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is an American nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that works with communities to preserve unused rail corridors by transforming them into rail trails within the United States of America. The mission of RTC is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. RTC was formed in 1986 by Peter Harnik and David Burwell, inspired by the opportunities presented by the increasing abandonment of railroad corridors throughout the country. The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (known as the 4R Act) included a little-noticed section to provide funding, information exchange and technical assistance in order to preserve these corridors and create public trails. The “railbanking” provisions of this legislation allowed disused railroad corridors to be preserved in public ownership rather than sold and dismantled. In addition to the creation of public rail-trails, railbanking legislation has also enabled the reactivation of rail-service along previously disused corridors. In recent years, RTC has focused increasingly on urban rail-trails and trail systems, a response to growing congestion and mobility problems in cities, as well the obesity epidemic which is encouraged by increasingly sedentary lifestyles, particularly among young people. This urban work includes RTC’s Urban Pathways Initiative (UPI), which features ongoing programs in Washington, D.C., Camden, N.J., Jacksonville, Fla., Compton, Calif., New Orleans, La., Springfield, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio.,and is funded by The Kresge Foundation. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, D.C., RTC has smaller offices in California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The organization receives no government funding and is supported almost entirely by paid members. As of December, 2012, RTC had approximately 80,000 paid members, the remainder of its funding coming from foundation and corporate grants and major donors. The organization publishes a quarterly magazine for its members. (ISSN 1523-4126) Rails to Trails magazine covers existing trails, planned trails, and member experiences, as well as news and items of interest to the bicycling public. In August, 2000, RTC launched, a free, trail-finder website that features maps, photos, reviews and other information on rail-trails, trails and greenways across America. Since 2000, RTC has used thorough GPS mapping data to provide accurate maps of more than 23,000 miles of trails around the country. In 2012, RTC re-launched with a new look and increased functionality. In 2007, RTC began recognizing exemplary rail-trails around the country as part of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The first inductees into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame were the Great Allegheny Passage, Penn., the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, Fla., and Katy Trail State Park, Mo. In June, 2012, the Greenbrier River Trail, W.Va., was the 26th and most recent inductee into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. In recent years, however, organizations affiliated with the Rails to Trails Conservancy have begun campaigning to dismantle active railroad lines and replace them with trails Examples of this include the efforts aimed at the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, New York and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Old Forge, New York.

Blanco River

The Blanco River is a river in the Hill Country of Texas in the United States.

Caddo Lake State Park

Caddo Lake State Park is a state park located in eastern Texas. Caddo Lake, the lake that the state park encompasses, is one of only a handful of natural lakes in Texas. The park consists of west of the lake itself, in Harrison County, near Karnack, Texas. The lake and surrounding area was drilled for petroleum in the 1900s. The lake was created by a gigantic log jam known as the Great Raft.

Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is a twenty-five county region of Central Texas and South Texas featuring karst topography and tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite dome in the United States, Enchanted Rock. The Hill Country reaches into portions of the two major metropolitan areas, especially in San Antonio’s northern suburbs and the western half of Travis County, ending southwest of Downtown Austin. The region is the eastern portion of the Edwards Plateau and is bound by the Balcones Fault on the east and the Llano Uplift to the west and north. The terrain is punctuated by a large number of limestone or granite rocks and boulders and a thin layer of topsoil, which makes the region very dry and prone to flash flooding. The Texas Hill Country is also home to several native types of vegetation, such as various yucca, prickly pear cactus, cedar scrub, and the dry Southwestern tree known as the Texas live oak. Several cities were settled at the base of the Balcones Escarpment, including Austin, San Marcos, and New Braunfels, as a result of springs discharging water stored in the Edwards Aquifer.

Howard County, Texas

Howard County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 35,012. Its county seat is Big Spring. The county is named for Volney E. Howard, a U.S. Congressman from Texas. Howard County is included in the Big Spring, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the head of the agency. It was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families). The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. Principal benefits of an individual’s enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. Implicitly, the CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation’s natural resources; and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources. During the time of the CCC, enrollees planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas. The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans. Despite its popular support, the CCC was never a permanent agency. It depended on emergency and temporary Congressional legislation for its existence. By 1942, with World War II and the draft in operation, need for work relief declined and Congress voted to close the program.