Bastrop- A Forest Reborn

                Published by the La Vernia News on May 9, 2013

                 Explore a Forest Reborn

Bastrop State Park rises from the ashes


      It's a resurrection story unlike any other.

    On September 4, 2011, 30 mile-per-hour winds toppled trees causing them to fall on electrical lines in two separate locations near the Bastrop State Park. Sparks fell on dry leaves and grass and ignited a fire that would last until October 29th. In the end, the most destructive fire in Texas history had scorched over 32,000 acres including 96% of the 6,565-acre park and destroyed 1,621 homes outside the park. Not only was the vegetation destroyed, the entire ecosystem of the park suffered. Fortunately, the historic cabins and other structures built during the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps were saved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A road passes through it

      Flash forward to spring of 2013. The park is recovering with almost all areas of the park reopened, including campgrounds, cabins, and trails. As we entered the park off Highway 21, we were greeted by a lush green 18-hole 6,152-yard long golf course, operated by the Lost Pines Golf Club, said to be one of the most scenic in Texas. Green fees start at $10; carts are available.

Everyday Journeys

       Harry and Linda kaye Perez

      You can rent canoes for use on the lake for fishing or just enjoying a beautiful sunny day on the water. There is biking, hiking and a fabulous pool that opens on Memorial Day. You can even rent a barbeque pit.


   If you are not into camping, there are 13 cabins, accommodating from 2 to 8 people. Cabin rentals start at $80 per night. The cabins are made of stone and wood and some have spectacular views of the lake. They are completely furnished, including bed and bath linens, kitchen equipment, microwave and have heating and air-conditioning. All have fireplaces. You have to bring your own cooking and eating utensils. Cabin #12, the Lost Pines Lodge, sits on a bluff overlooking the lake and is the largest of the cabins.

      Even though it will take a generation for full recovery, today the park is fully functional, beautiful and enjoyable and the wildlife is beginning to return to the area. However, if you want to see the remains of the devastation of the fire of 2011, take Park Road 1A to the right as you enter the park. After you pass the Copperas Creek Camping Area, the view on both sides of the road will bring tears to your eyes. The fire brought about by natural causes makes the tragedy no less painful.

      From the overlook at the far north side of the park, we looked down onto the forest’s floor, but the tall spirals of the burnt pines rising to the sky dominated the view. As we looked across the fields, tiny pink and orange flags stuck in the ground cover the landscape looking like colorful wildflowers. They mark the spots where over two million tiny loblolly pine seedlings have been planted. Someday these new pine trees will dominate the skyline erasing the sad memory of a tragic event.


      Continue on Park Road 1A a short distance from the overlook to Park Road 1C. This will take you along a 12-mile scenic drive to Bastrop’s neighbor, Buescher State Park. The fire damage gradually lessens; green trees abound by the time you reach the other park. It is a magnificent drive through the Lost Pines of East Central Texas.

      Bastrop State Park is located 89 miles from LaVernia and is open seven days a week. Entrance fees range from $2 to $4. Check the website for opening and closing hours which vary slightly between seasons.

You can stay here

The Bastrop State Park is located on Park Road 1A, Bastrop, Texas 78602. The Park Office: (512) 321-2101; Reservations: (512) 389-8900 and the website:



The Eerie Silence is Deafening



                                                                                  The Rebirth



                                                                                      The Come Back

   © Harry Perez 2012