TX - Martin Dies, Jr. SP

Discussion in 'Texas' started by Lori3778, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Lori3778

    Lori3778 New Member

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    We camped at Martin Dies, Jr. SP September 7-9 2007. Wow, what a difference 30 years and one hurricane can make. I camped at this park many times as a kid. The lake was a favorite in SE Texas then. However, now the lake is nearly covered in grasses and aquatic plants. And, this particular weekend we were only one of three occupied sites between sites 36-100. We couldn't even see or hear any other campers. We had the entire loop to ourselves. An hour or more would go by before a car would drive by and then it was almost always a Ranger. The state park was heavily damaged in hurricane "Rita" in September 2005. According to park officials 40% of the trees were destroyed. One plus is that the park service had to construct new bath facilities. The camping area is well maintained in the Hen House Ridge Unit. Some of the back-in sites #80-100 do not have utilities yet since "Rita uprooted trees that pulled up electrical and water lines. We camped in Site #98 and it was the most shaded of the six or so sites in that loop with utilities. It was close to the fishing pier too. Once a highlight of the park, the swimming area was a disappointment. Although the website and park rangers say it's open, I don't think anyone would take a chance of stepping on a snake or doing the tango with an alligator. The trails in this unit seemed fairly well maintained and canoes are available.

    Due to hurricane damage the campsites in the Walnut Ridge Unit except for the shelter area remain closed. Also, the trails remain closed in this unit. However, the Observation Bridge is open as is the small Nature Center and Herb Garden. Both continue to recover from heavy hurricane damage.

    Overall a nice park if you want to get away from crowds and spend a peaceful weekend. But, beware if you camp here in September. The gulf coast "love bugs" are a plentiful nuisance. Just be sure to wash your TV and camper ASAP upon returning home.

    You can click the camera and go to my Webshots page for photos of this and other state parks we've visited in Texas.

    Steve & Lori
    son, Trent 9
    '07 Jayco Select 12HW
    '01 Dodge Ram 1500
     
  2. Bobbie Scott

    Bobbie Scott New Member

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    Wow Lor, I did not realize that the park had so much damage. Of course we have not been down there for years. We usually go over to Ft. Parker SP or to Ratcliff Lake. We are planning a trip in a little over a week to Ft. Parker. Or maybe somewhere else. Our son is a ranger at Ft. Parker, and we are taking our anniv. trip, so may go further to Ratcliff. LOL.... don't need the kids around for our "TRIP" Oh, how I do hate the love bugs. When we go to Corpus, we can usually plan a stop in Victoria to clean the windshield so we can see again.

    DW Bobbie
    DH Sonny
    1993 Coleman Destiny Royale
    2000 GMC Jimmy
     
  3. Lori3778

    Lori3778 New Member

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    Just to update: We camped here this past weekend in the Hen House Ridge Unit and I have to say Texas has done a fantastic job of cleaning up this park. The lake was no longer covered with aquatic plants and grasses. The state took advantage of several days of temps in the low teens to upper single digits this past winter to drain the lake to kill off what they didn't get with spraying, etc. While the lake was lower, they also took the opportunity to update the day use area. Cleaning out the swimming area, bringing in fresh sand, and extending the bulkhead with steps into the swimming area improving the overall appearance. While I'm sure they didn't remove the gators, at least now the threat of one hiding in the foliage is greatly reduced. All campsites and trails are open; even the island trail in the Walnut Ridge Unit. We enjoyed our stay this time and look forward to going again.
     

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