Recently a major newspaper listed a “bucket list” of ten things every traveling Texan should do and see in the state. In addition to visiting the Alamo, Big Bend and McDonald Observatory, the list included watching the releases of hundreds of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings at the Padre Island National Seashore and also South Padre Island.
If you have traveled much in Texas, you know that visiting South Padre Island has to be part of a very long weekend or a vacation due to its proximity to the Mexican border. And anyone in the Houston/Dallas/Beaumont triangle will need between five and ten hours to get to the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi for hatchling releases at dawn.
But what about the Upper Texas Coast and the Galveston area? This year eggs from 13 Kemp’s ridley nests found in the Galveston/Surfside area were transferred to the Padre Island National Seashore for hatching and releases. If this transfer had not been made, thousands of people close to the Galveston beaches could have seen the release of over 1000 tiny baby sea turtles without driving for hours to do so.
It’s time for Galveston to be placed on the Bucket List so families, tourists and residents can witness one of the most memorable events nature has to offer.
It’s time we all speak up and ask the US Fish and Wildlife Service to add another release site on the Texas coast. That site will be the very beaches where the mother turtles crawled up onto the sand and laid the eggs that were immediately taken away.
Once a release is over, there is a lot for families to see and do in just one day in the Galveston area and many can still be home by bedtime. It truly should be on the Bucket List for Texas! (See www.seaturtles.org to sign a petition.)