Bastrop State Park is located 32 miles southeast of Austin in Bastrop County. It is the site of the famous "Lost Pines," an isolated region of loblolly pines and hardwoods.
The state acquired land for the park from the city of Bastrop and private owners in 1933 to 1935; the park opened in 1937. The park has continued to add acreage over the years, and now contains 6,600 acres. Buescher protects an additional 1,017 acres.
El Camino Real
Over the ages, people have recognized the value of the abundant natural resource here: trees. In addition, a convenient river crossing made this a likely place for early travel and settlement.
The important Spanish travel route known as El Camino Real aided early colonization of Texas. Portions of the historic road run through the park. Bastrop State Park is part of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.
Historians believe Bastrop, known as Mina when established in 1832, is one of the oldest towns in Texas.
Timber harvest of the loblolly pines fueled construction in nearby Austin and San Antonio. Some of the Bastrop timber was exported as far as northern Mexico.
Designing natural parks
The National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Texas State Parks Board (now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) joined hands in 1933. They designed and constructed buildings and facilities in many Texas parks, including Bastrop.
The architect of Bastrop State Park, Arthur Fehr, followed National Park Service design principles. These principles called for harmony with the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and pine forests. To help create that harmony, designs used native materials for construction.
The stone cabins at Bastrop appear to grow out of the ground like natural rock outcrops. Designers used the same non-intrusive design elements for dams, culverts, bridges and fences. You can see similar design concepts in parks around the state and nation.
Bastrop’s refectory is a showplace of CCC craftsmanship. Cedar, oak, walnut and pine native to the park and red sandstone quarried nearby come together. The result is an attractive stone structure featuring carved mantles, roof beams and handmade furniture.
Bastrop State Park earned National Historic Landmark status in 1997. This was due largely to the enduring craftsmanship and landscape work of the CCC. Only seven CCC parks in the nation have this recognition.
Learn more about the park and its history: