Coexisting with nature · General

Bastrop State Park update

For those wanting an update on Bastrop State Park, Todd McClanahan, the Park Superintendent for the Lost Pines Complex (Bastrop & Buescer State Parks) sent out an message today.

Entrance to Bastrop State Park, the only part untouched by fire. (photo by Aida Cerda Prazak)

An update on damages:

Thus far, all buildings within Bastrop State Park, including CCC cabins, refectory, bathhouse, swimming pool, pro shop, picnic shelter, warehouse and sign shop along with the headquarters, group barracks, residences and restrooms have been saved. We lost the roofs on the two CCC scenic overlook structures and a few smaller barn-type structures in the backcountry. This was an amazing feat by all firefighters and private volunteers including Niece Equipment, Ranger Excavating, Jimmy Evans Company, Holt Cat, TxDOT, Comanche Ranch and several firefighting agencies from across the nation. We were operating as our own operational division within the state park, however, state park firefighters also assisted with structure protection outside the park boundaries as well. It was an extremely daunting task to not only protect structures, but especially those with wood shake roofs. Our Regional Office which is also located within Bastrop State Park suffered losses including a Law Enforcement building, Texas Outdoor Family building, residence and 12 vehicles, seven of which were new vehicles yet to be delivered to other state parks.

He estimates that

95% of Bastrop State Park has endured significant loss and will likely increase due to the prolonged drought conditions.

For those wanting to go visit the park and see damages for yourself, he warns that the park will remain closed until the end of October, although Buescher State Park will be open beginning Monday, September 19th.

As he says,

I know that folks are wanting desperately to come into the park to see what it looks like, but please spread the word to keep out until we deem it safe. If we are able to ensure the safety of park visitors and volunteers, we will open sooner, however, there are too many unknowns at this time. We must assess our utilities including electricity, lift stations, infrastructure for smoke/heat damage and continue to monitor the hazard of falling trees and potential for re-burn in unburned areas, especially once the pine needles begin dropping. This will be a long process.

McClanahan noted that his staff has received many inquiries about how to donate or volunteer to help the park, but indicates that at this time they are still making the park safe and they do not want untrained personnel there. In terms of possible tree planting, he points out that they must first “assess the erosion problem,” and given the Central Texas drought, they need to do everything possible to “maximize the chance for survival for any planted trees.”

The fire isn't raging... but it's not extinguished either. (photo by Jackie Dana)

For those who wish make monetary donations, please one of the following specifically for Bastrop State Park and TPWD:

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Attn: Cashiers
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

OR

Friends of Lost Pines State Parks
PO Box 1714
Bastrop, TX 78602

OR for affected TPWD employees:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation
Memo Line: TPWD Employee Relief Fund
1901 N. Akard
Dallas, TX 75201

Finally, he notes:

I appreciate all of your calls and emails showing the unbelievable support for this state park. It will take a very long time to restore this park but we will make it through this. Please share as needed. I thank all of you.

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