Bastrop State Park is home to the Loblolly Pine Trees (pinus taeda), commonly referred to as the Lost Pines. Their isolated population is the furthest western location within the United States, thriving in acidic soil and reaching heights up to 160 feet tall.
Following the Bastrop fire of 2011, the state moved into recovery and focused on the restoration and preservation of the park. Many Loblolly trees are barren and grey and black with carbon, providing little shade from the burning Texas sun. However, the fire opened up the understory and allowed other plant life to flourish in the sunlight, including newly planted Loblolly trees.
Months before the dam burst this summer, last season’s orange crew installed check steps and water bars, some of which were plummeted by the rushing 35 million gallons of water traveling upstream. During this term, we had our first hitch at Palmetto State Park and then at Bastrop State Park, where we failed hazardous trees, installed check steps and water bars, treaded the winding red trail, and cleared corridor. I learned how to remove stumps using various hand tools. We had some extra help from local park volunteers and explained the steps to creating a new trail.
During our half day, we visited the Bastrop Museum and learned interesting facts about Bastrop’s history, like the historical significance of Loblollys and how the city was formed. We will return to the park next week to continue restoring the red trail. I’m looking forward to learning how to install box steps and improving my check steps and water bars.