Praries & Lakes
Bastrop Texas State Park
Bastrop State Park Information:
This 5,926 acre park was devastated by the September 2011 Wildfire. The golf course, all but three of the historic structures, and approximately 50 to 100 acres of Loblolly Pine forest were spared. By 2013, tiny drought hardy loblolly pines were poking their tiny trunks out of the ground. The pines are essential to the Houston Toad’s survival. Every $1 donation pays for a new pine tree planting. The replanting effort will continue through 2018, and possibly beyond. The endangered Houston Toad population was all but wiped out. Only a handful of toads were spotted in 2012. During the spring of 2013, 6,500 tadpoles were released into the park’s pond in hopes of possibly a dozen surviving to toad stage. The nearby Buescher State Park was unaffected by the wildfire. Bastrop State Park is now open for camping and recreation. The park is situated in the hilly "Lost Pines," an isolated timbered region of Loblolly Pine and hardwoods. It is unknown how these pine trees, the most western stand of Loblolly Pine trees in the U.S, came to be here. Legend states that Indians migrating here from East Texas brought the pine seedlings with them to remind them of their former home. During the 1800s, parts of the forest were over cut in order to provide fields for farming and livestock. When the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) arrived in 1933 to begin construction of the park, one of their first work projects was to reforest some of the agriculture fields. They also built beautiful buildings, such as the stone cabins and the Refectory. The Refectory, built of local red sandstone, walnut, oak, cedar and pine, features carved roof beams and mantels, and homemade furniture. Due largely to the incredible landscaping and building by the CCC, Bastrop State Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Only 5 U.S. CCC built parks have achieved this status. Park activities include camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, golfing and picnicking. Park entrance and camping fees apply.The park opened to the public in 1937. For more complete park information, read the Park Brochure, and watch the Bastrop State Park Video Prior to2011 Wildfire, the Bastrop State Park Video Prior to 2011 Wildfire, the Bastrop State Park 2011 Wildfire Video, and the Bastrop SP Old Golf Course Nature Trail Video.  From Austin, take SH 71 to Bastrop, Texas. Turn left at SH 21/95 sign for Bryan and Elgin. Drive past the golf course on your right, then immediately turn right at the short cut over road; the park entrance will be on your right. Bastrop State Park Facilities Map      
Historical Markers:
In addition to being designated a National Landmark, Bastrop State Park has received Texas Historical Landmark markers. A Marker commemorates the outstanding work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the reforestation of the pine forest, and the building of the park structures. Another marker pays tribute to James Gotier for the building of the Gotier Trace, a road connecting Bastrop County to San Felipe, the Capitol of Stephen F. Austin's original colony. A third marker recognizes the historical significance of the "Lost Pines." In 1936, the State of Texas erected a marker dedicated to Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron De Bastrop, for his service to the State of Texas. Neri was land commissioner for Stephen F. Austin; Bastrop County and the town of Bastrop are named after him.
Houston Toads:
The park is a prime breeding habitat for the Houston Toads which were almost destroyed in the September 2011 wildfire. Prior to the wildfire, the parks 300 endangered Houston Toads represented half of the world's Houston Toad population. Over the years the park has worked diligently to protect the toad’s habitat and to increase the population. In 2008, a reforestation project was begun to plant 55,000 trees on 118 acres of newly acquired land. In 2009, another project was started to reforest more acres in the areas where forest land had been converted to farming. Also in 2009, researchers collected toad eggs, incubated them, and 6 months later released the young toads into the same pond from which they collected the eggs. Note that some of the park’s reforested acres may have been destroyed in the September 2011 wildfire. The trees that survived the wildfire will mature in 80 years. Some areas of the park are closed during the toad's mating season from February through April. The Griffith League Ranch is another primary recovery area for the Houston Toad. The Houston Zoo operates the Houston Toad Recovery Project. Bastrop State Park Volunteers are also working to save the toad.    
Bastrop State Park Directions:
From Austin: Take SH 71 to Bastrop, Texas. Turn left at SH 21/95 sign for Bryan and Elgin. Drive past the golf course on your right, then immediately turn on the crossover road just before the light.