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May 8, 2006
Village Creek State Park Reopens Campsites After Hurricane
LUMBERTON — Village Creek State Park is again open for business. The East Texas park, which was severely impacted by last fall’s Hurricane Rita, began welcoming visitors again on Monday, May 1.
Several other Texas state parks have also been recovering from Rita. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park near Jasper reopened over the Easter weekend. Sea Rim State Park and Sabine Pass State Historic Site on the Gulf Coast remain closed while repairs continue.
About half of Village Creek’s facilities, excluding eight water-and-electric campsites, 12 of 15 picnic sites, all 16 walk-in tent campsites, group camping area and three miles of trails, are again accessible to the public, according to Jerry Rashall, park superintendent. He said 17 of 25 water and electric campsites, park headquarters, restrooms with showers, a cabin, dump station, picnic pavilion, playground and canoe launch are back in operation. For the latest information, call the park at (409) 755-7322.
Camping reservations for both Village Creek and Martin Dies Jr. state parks can be made by calling the Customer Service Center in Austin at (512) 389-8900, or can be booked on-line through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site.
At Martin Dies Jr., 31 water-and-electric campsites, 19 screened shelters, a mini-cabin and 35 water-only campsites in the Hen House Ridge unit are available for overnight camping.
Much of the money for the repairs thus far has come from the sale of timber salvaged from the park’s numerous downed old growth pines and hardwoods.
Martin Dies Jr. superintendent Dan Odom credits the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which allowed the state park to piggyback on an existing Corps timber salvage contract, with helping get the park reopened much sooner than anticipated.
TPWD expects to recoup much of the cost of repairs at hurricane-damaged East Texas state parks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For more information about Martin Dies Jr. State Park, phone the park at (409) 384-5231.
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