We have started a new volunteer gig, this time in deep East Texas. We were scheduled to return to Goose Island State Park to lead bird walks, but Hurricane Harvey did a number on the park and closed it temporarily. We offered to help them clean up, but they weren't sure of when they could accommodate volunteers so we made alternate plans.
We will be Park Hosts at Martin Dies Jr. State Park near Jasper, Texas. If you don't know where Jasper is, we're about 50 miles north of Beaumont, Texas and only 35 miles from the Louisiana border. The area is a wonderful mixture of pines and hardwoods, and we are right on B.A. Steinhagen Lake.
Though most of the park is heavily wooded, our camping area is surprisingly open. With the short days of winter approaching we're pleased to be out in the sunshine. So far the weather has been crisp and cool. We actually had frost our second night!
Our duties are pretty simple. We'll do site checks in the morning (making sure the folks who came in during the night have paid), occasional after-hours car counts, and cleaning up campsites when folks check out. Firewood sales are on the honor system so we won't be involved with that. You can see our John Deere Gator parked behind the firewood rack. This is our main transportation when checking and cleaning sites.
This is a weekend destination park for folks from Houston (2 1/2 hours away), and we will fill up completely on Friday night, and then empty back out on Sunday. Weekday traffic is very light, though Thanksgiving week is booked. After Thanksgiving we're told that even weekend camping will be very slow.
The park has extensive hiking trails, along with a network of canoe/kayak trails. We plan to try them all, so stay tuned...