The Resilience of Nature: Bastrop State Park, TexasConservation, GARDENS & PARKS, GUEST BLOGGERS, USA MAINLAND — By Valeka Cruz on September 14, 2012 at 11:45
By guest blogger Valeka Cruz. Photos Copyright © Valeka Cruz.
Bastrop State Park and neighboring Buescher State Park are located 30 miles south of Austin, Texas and are home to the “Lost Pines,” an isolated region of loblolly pines (yes, we have pine trees in Texas!).
In 1997, the park was given National Historic Landmark status. The beautiful craftsmanship of the buildings and the environmental work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps contributed to the park receiving this award. Bastrop is one of only seven CCC parks in the country to be given that distinction.
In September 2011, the park and surrounding area experienced a devastating wildfire. In addition to people losing their homes, acre upon acre of beautiful pine-covered land was scorched.
Approximately 96% of the state park was affected by the fires. Fortunately, firefighters and volunteers were able to save the cabins and facilities that were built in the 1930’s by the CCC.
I hadn’t been to the park in quite a while. The last time was a couple years prior to the fires while I was training for a road race. My best friend and I decided that we were long overdue for a visit so we took a daytrip to the park earlier this month.
I remember doing training runs through the beautiful pine-lined trails and getting lost in the scent of pine needles that would fall into my hair as I made my way through the park. It was such a wonderful experience every time I visited. I didn’t realize how much I missed the park until my recent visit.
Since the wildfire, the park has undergone such a revitalization. The remains of the fire are still evident in the landscape and recovering foliage.
As we hiked through the park, I was mesmerized by the resilience of nature. Everywhere I looked, there was evidence of the park renewing itself. It gave me a feeling of hope and joy.
Wildflowers peeked out from between scorched rocks and took root along the trail, and the American Beautyberry bushes were in full bloom.
Bridges over previously closed trails that had been destroyed in the fire had been rebuilt.
I was amazed that, even though it had been subjected to some horrible conditions, nature was thriving. It was beautiful to feel like I was a part of it on that very day. Even some critters came out to look around!
Valeka Cruz (@runningonheavy) is a freelance writer and blogger living happily in Austin Texas with her three fur babies. Her weekly blog, Running On Heavy, provides health and wellness motivation along with life lessons. She loves chocolate, hiking, laughing, hot tea and, especially, writing (not necessarily in that order, depending on what kind of a day it is).