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From the Pen of Robert L. Cook

I want to tell you and the thousands of Texans who believe in and stand with our Texas game wardens about our new Game Warden Training Center. I want to personally invite you to join us in supporting a capital campaign that will secure the future of fish and wildlife conservation law enforcement in Texas.

Texas game wardens are widely recognized as the best-trained corps of fish and wildlife conservation officers in the nation. As we enjoy the great outdoors, we must not take for granted the role that a well-trained game warden force plays in ensuring that our hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits are safe and available for future generations. As my on-the-job work experience and personal friendships with game wardens has accumulated and increased over four decades, so has my respect and admiration for their professionalism and dedication. They do a great job and are good citizens in communities across the state.

Since the 1970s, the game wardens of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have received their required seven-month specialized training at our present training site, which is located on four acres in a very urban setting of homes and businesses in Austin. We need a larger, more modern facility that will enable us to provide advanced training to a greater number of game wardens.

Recently an ideal site for the training facility was donated to TPWD by our friends at the Police Activity League. About three years ago, TPWD was approached about a possible partnership opportunity that would include the donation of the 200-acre Hamilton County youth ranch operated by PAL. TPWD leadership immediately began discussions that involved leaders in the Law Enforcement Division, the Texas Game Warden Association, game warden rank and file, the local community and PAL. All were enthusiastic, and the Texas Legislature supported the idea by approving the sale of the central Austin facility, with proceeds earmarked for development at the new site.

At full capacity, the new Texas Game Warden Training Center will train 60 game warden cadets annually; the 200-acre rural site will include all the needed facilities to accommodate their rigorous seven-month training curriculum.

Outreach to the youth of Texas is one of the missions of Texas game wardens. One of the conditions of the donation was that PAL be allowed the option to host youth activities on the site for six weeks in the summer. We believe that the partnership between PAL, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Game Warden Association will result in enhanced outreach to the youth of Texas.

Along with our partners, we recently began our fundraising efforts to raise $9 million in private funds to make this dream a reality. To date, we have received approximately $2.5 million from supporters to begin the development and construction of this great undertaking. Working together, we can make the Texas Game Warden Training Center the best in the country. All donations are tax deductible and can be made to either the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department c/o the Texas Game Warden Training Center account or to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation c/o the Texas Game Warden Training Center.

This is a wonderful example of what can happen when we work together on a great effort that will positively impact fish and wildlife conservation and make this a better world for future generations of Texans. I hope that you will join us in this effort, knowing that your donation will produce many benefits for all Texans. Thank you for your support of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas game wardens.

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