Back to the Beginning – Bastrop State Park
In the fall of 2011, the majority of the 6,600-acre Bastrop State Park burned. As a nature photographer, I felt compelled to help raise funds for its restoration. Using photos I had taken during the spring before the fire, I created the book “Back to the Beginning – Bastrop State Park” to sell and share half of the profits with the park. The next year, I applied for a grant from the Puffin Foundation, who awarded me assistance with purchasing more books. In addition, I gave slideshow presentations with images from before and the fire.
The chapters in the book follow the natural progression a developing forest: from rocks and dirt through fully developed trees. Sadly, it will take decades for it to return to the state it was in. Pine trees are not commonly found in Texas, except in the far Eastern and Western regions. However, Bastrop is part of a small forest in Central Texas called the “Lost Pines”. Loblolly pines, a common variety there, can only grow from seeds, not offshoots. They are slow growing and can easily be crowded out by bushy offshoots of faster growing oaks, which are also more fire resistant than pines.
Black pine skeletons now line the miles of highway along the park. In the lesser-damaged sections of the park, some pines have sprouted again, but many that tried to bounce back, didn’t make it through the next summer’s drought without the shade from neighboring trees.
In 2012,funds donated to the park were used to purchase loblolly pines seedlings; to pay for professional removal of dead trees; for erosion control so new plants and trees could root in stable ground; and habitat restoration.They are still in need of assistance for purchasing more seedlings, insect control, clearing more dead trees away, and replacing kayaks and canoes.
So far, HaikuFlash has raised $350 for the park. If you are interested in donating by purchasing the commemorative book “Back to the Beginning: Bastrop State Park”, contact the artist.