Vote to Help Bastrop State Park Back From the Ashes

Bastrop State Park is making a strong comeback after last Labor Day Weekend’s devastating wildfire that burned most of the park.

Now there’s a way you can help bring Bastrop State Park back from the ashes. An additional $100,000 would give a huge boost to help this beloved and iconic state park.

Coca-Cola will provide a $100,000 grant to the park that receives the most votes during its national “America Is Your Park” promotion.

“While all of our state parks deserve support and would benefit from the $100,000 grant in these times of budget shortfalls,” says Texas State Parks director Brent Leisure.

“Rallying around hard-hit Bastrop State Park will give us the best chance to win the cash to continue restoring the national landmark and the Lost Pines ecosystem. This is a grassroots effort that, to be successful requires, support from not only the Bastrop community, but from park-lovers throughout Texas.”

Vote online at livepositively.com/parks and while you’re there be sure to register your FourSquare account so you can earn the park 100 votes when you “check-in”!

Help spread the “love” for Bastrop State Park by telling your family and friends to vote, too, and by posting the link on your Facebook page and your other social media accounts. Remember that you can go online daily to cast your vote for Bastrop State Park up until the deadline.

The three parks that receive the most votes by July 15, 2012 will be awarded recreation grants in the following amounts:

  • First Place – $100,000
  • Second Place – $50,000
  • Third Place – $25,000

Camping in the "lost pines" at Bastrop State Park prior to the fire. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If Bastrop State Park collects the most votes in this third annual national competition, the $100,000 award would be used to keep American YouthWorks members working at the park to advance the recovery of the park’s infrastructure and forest landscape, according to Leisure.

The Bastrop State Park voting campaign already is receiving support from both the public and private sectors, including Greater Austin Merchants Association and the City of Bastrop.

Campaign sponsor Coca-Cola will also be giving Bastrop State Park $10,000 to fund a trail-building event at the park on June 20 and help spread awareness of the promotion.

Since last year’s tragic Labor Day fire that hit 96 percent of the 6,500-acre state park, $262,000 in donations for Bastrop State Park recovery have come from a variety of sources.

The donations have helped Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) initiate a contract with American YouthWorks to assist with restoration efforts that include clearing downed trees and other debris, restoring park trails, and constructing hand-hewn pine log bridges.

Despite the destruction of much of its loblolly pine forests, Bastrop State Park is seeing the growth of some vegetation and the return of loyal park customers who are returning to camp, rent a cabin, fish, play golf, picnic, and listen for the chirp of the park’s endangered Houston toads.

Visitors can stay at all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs, and 80 percent of the park trails have been reopened.

Bastrop and Buesher (pictured above) state parks are connected by Park Road 1. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bastrop’s Lost Pines wildfire—the most destructive in Texas history—resulted in a three-month closure of the state park, causing serious financial losses for a site that draws 170,000 visitors a year and has an annual $2 million economic impact on Bastrop County.

Currently, the top 5 parks are:

  • Swift-Cantrell Park, Kennesaw, Georgia (4,616,854 votes)
  • Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, Texas (2,580,812 votes)
  • Parr Hill Park, Joplin, Missouri (1,124,100 votes)
  • Unicoi State Park, Georgia (793, 824 votes)
  • Jekyll Island State Park, Jekyll Island, Georgia (765,585 votes)

Worth Pondering…

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

—Les Brown

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