- January 24, 2012

Bastrop State Park – Charred but Not Closed


In September 2011, wildfire burned 96% of Bastrop State Park.  This burn severity map shows the fire damage done to 33,284 acres in Bastrop County, with Bastrop State Park right in the middle of the “Heavily Burned” area.

Visitors are welcome to enter Bastrop State Park for $4 per person age 13 and older (children are free) and it is worth a visit, even with much of the Park blocked off to the public. 

There is currently one hiking trail open to the public, which is highlighted in yellow below.  AmeriCorps has recently begun work clearing and rerouting trails, so more will be open in the future.

We spent this past Sunday afternoon at Bastrop State Park.  Much of the Park looks like this, with the trees closest to the road cut down.  Trees farther back have been left to fall down on their own, in an effort to prevent erosion.

Many trees have been spray painted blue, which means that they are still alive and should be spared.  If those trees die within the next month or so, they will be cut down at that time.

Although the landscape of Bastrop State Park is vastly changed, with many of the remaining loblolly pines blackened and devoid of pine needles, there is still beauty to be found in the woods.  We saw a cardinal, the insides of rocks that had cracked from the heat, and new plants starting to grow.

The unique type of loblolly pines found in Bastrop State Park is currently being grown in nurseries and universities, to replace the trees that were lost. They should be ready for planting in early 2013.  According to a State Park ranger, it will take 100 years for these new trees to reach the height of the trees that burned. When I spoke with her she sadly noted, “It won’t be in my lifetime.”  To read about how the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is contributing to the “Hope for Lost Pines” effort, go here.

To read more about the Bastrop wildfire and to learn how you can help the park, visit the Bastrop State Park website.  For general information about which sections of the park are open to visit, go here.