The Lost Pines: Readers Respond to Bastrop Wildfires
EDITOR’S NOTE: When we were planning the October 2011 issue of Texas Highways magazine, there was no way we could have imagined the devastation that would alter the lush landscape of Bastrop State Park. We were excited to put the park in the spotlight––to share this gem for others to enjoy and explore. We are grateful to have been able to capture the essence of the park before the wildfires. Now, this issue stands as a testament to what was lost ... and what can be once again.
Read writer Celestina Blok's personal story of being evacuated from Bastrop State Park as it started to go up in flames.
Texas Highways in Space
Astronaut Mike Fossum shared his thoughts, from the International Space Station, about Texas Highways' Bastrop and Buescher state park feature.
I loved the article and recognized almost all of the views shown in the pictures. Bastrop State Parks won’t recover for a very long time, so that article is both a treasure and a reminder of what it was and can become again.
The view from the space station of the fires across the state was difficult to comprehend, but the Bastrop Fire was absolutely sickening because I have a long personal connection with the area.
One of the things I look forward to doing when I get home is joining the legions of volunteers who are anxious to help restore these gems of our state park system.
Mike Fossum, Commander, International Space Station
Thank you for the wonderful story on Bastrop State Park. Fortunately, almost all of the historic CCC cabins and structures are still intact thanks to the heroic efforts of our firefighters, who continue to douse hotspots in the park. As we assess the fire's damage, we'll be developing a recovery plan to get the park back opened to the public.
Texas Parks and Wildlife
This issue of Texas Highways will be a keepsake one for me. I may not live long enough for the park to recover (I really am old but who knows). So grateful to hear the cains and structures were saved. God Bless the firefighters!!
Virginia Traylor Hickman
I'm not usually brought to tears reading a Texas Highways article but this one did it. I know that eventually the area will recover -- it will take time for it to be close to what it was before the fires. That process of renewal is already beginning.
Noko Marie Thesnake
Don't know what premonition Andy Ross had to do a story about the Lost Pines at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks but thanks! We will miss the beauty of the parks and the ride on Park Road 1C, now changed for a generation. Our hearts go out to those impacted by all the fires that have run rampant across the state this year.
Jay Trainor, Georgetown
It is a sad bit of irony that as I read the story on Bastrop State Park, it continues to burn with only 60 percent contained. I spent many Fourth of July holidays in the park as a child, as as a wife and mother. Our first camping trip was to the park. As sad as it is to see the park burn, my heart goes out to all the people who have lost their homes to this terrible fire season.
Susan Stieler, San Antonio
I wanted to thank you for your emailed message about Bastrop and Buescher. I have been following the news about the devastating fires and all the loss with great sadness. When I received my Texas Highways this morning, I was so glad your magazine had the chance and (perhaps prophetic) foresight to capture these beautiful images before the tragedy happened. The trees and homes will all come back in time, I have faith, but the loss of lives cannot ever be replaced. God Bless all those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.
Thank you again for the wonderful job you do with the Texas Highways publication.
I feel so sorry for Andy Ross. His fine article on Bastrop State Park arrived at my house as Bastrop State Park is burning!! I do hope that it and the Houston Toads survive, for the article has made me want to pay a visit!!
Martha Chappelle, Midland
Thank you for your article on the Lost Pines in the Oct. issue of Texas Highways and for emailing the notice of the update on the fires on your web site. Bastrop State Park is a special place for me and my husband as we were married in the refectory Nov. 92 and we spent many hours walking with our dogs on the trails. We moved from the area at the first of the year, but I have been back in Bastrop the last week volunteering at the Bastrop County Animal Shelter where I volunteered prior to moving.
I just received my copy of Texas Highways and was heartbroken when I looked at those beautiful photos taken before the fires. My one regret is that I drove that road for years from Houston to Austin and would tell my husband almost every time we needed to visit Bastrop State Park. Of course we never did but my daughter-in-law did take our two granddaughters quite often, and they are young enough to see it in it glory again. I have my photos in my Texas Highways magazine.
Ann M. Murphey
I received my magazine today. So sad to hear the news. Have been watching on the news each evening. Praying for the families and the tragedies incurred to the wildlife. Looking forward to visiting the state parks in the future.
Thank you for the update on Bastrop State Park and the wildfires. Received my Texas Highways today, and at least we can all remember what it used to look like. I live one county away from that wildfire and one county away from the one in Montgomery county, and have seen and smelled the smoke for a couple of days.
I have never been to the State Parks mentioned in your October article, but I live near Alpine, and have for the past few years been subjected to wildfires in the area, including several much too close for comfort. I keep my car packed with food for my dog, my cat, and me for three days, plus a blanket and pillow. Wildfires are appalling and unpredictable, and the best we can do is try to keep the area around our houses as free from anything that can catch fire as possible. I've had my trees pruned, keep the grass mowed, and hope that I'll be safe. I live out in Brewster County and depend on a well; something I've been used to for the past nearly 30 years. Trying to keep a few trees and plants on life support has been tricky, but those need to be healthy in order to protect the area around my home. We are in a most terrible situation, need to be responsible with our water use, and need to keep on praying that this drought will end soon.
From the October 2011 issue.