Buescher State Park

Nature

Buescher State Park sits within the ecological region known as Post Oak Savannah. The loblolly pine woodland is isolated from the main body of the East Texas Pineywoods by approximately 100 miles of rolling, post oak woodlands. This pine-oak woodland covers approximately 70 square miles.

The Lost Pines are significant in that they represent the westernmost stand of loblolly pine trees in the United States. Pollen records indicate the pines have persisted in this area for over 18,000 years. Sandy and gravely soils with a sub-surface layer of water-preserving clay help to create an environment where loblolly pines can flourish. Over time the climate became drier but the local sandy, aquifer-laced soils provided conditions for them to thrive. The pines have become genetically unique, having adapted to 30% less rainfall than loblollies from East Texas and adjacent states. Over 75,000 acres of loblolly pines, known as the Lost Pines ecosystem, lie scattered across sections of five counties on the Texas Coastal Plain. A portion of this magnificent pine forest is located in Bastrop and Buescher State Parks.

A mosaic of pine, oaks, shrubs, grassland and mixed flowering plants create a diverse environment important to many species of wildlife, including the pileated woodpecker, the largest of the woodpeckers. The beautiful wooded setting, which includes a tranquil lake, makes an excellent area from which to observe the seasonal distribution of roughly 250 species of birds. Mammals include white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, bobcats and armadillos, along with rabbits, squirrels and small rodents. Enjoy fishing for catfish, bass, crappie and perch, as well as rainbow trout in the winter.

The seasonally moist and sandy soils of the Lost Pines provide critical habitat for the largest remain­ing population of the endangered Houston toad. The Houston toad was recognized as an endan­gered species in 1970. Loss of habitat in its historic range, largely due to urbanization, has caused a marked decline in populations of this species in recent decades.


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