Residents within Bastrop have long been accustomed to nice parks in their town. But the folks who live outside the city limits in the small surrounding communities didn’t have a park to call their own.
Well, not until 2008, when Cedar Creek Park was dedicated in Cedar Creek about 11 miles west of Bastrop. The Bastrop Independent School District transferred ownership of the park’s 46 acres to Bastrop County so they could be developed into the county’s first recreational park featuring sports fields, trails and community gathering areas, as well as a nature preserve along Cedar Creek, the park’s southern border.
Cedar Creek Park, near the intersection of State Highway 21 and FM 535, was created with the cooperation of several state agencies including the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and Texas Parks and Wildlife, partnering to provide development funding matching the value of the park acreage.
For several years, local civic groups and individuals were actively involved in the planning and construction of the park, including local Boy Scout troops and The Cedar Creek Park Association, a non-profit organization. The park association continues to enhance the park with educational, cultural and recreational fundraising efforts as well as building relationships with members of the community to increase public awareness of the park.
Cedar Creek Park, Partnering Recreation and Nature
Years of planning among citizens and public agencies resulted in a long list of potential improvements for the site that lies between Cedar Creek Elementary School and the heavily wooded creek to its south. The finished product contains many of the best ideas from that list.
There are spaces to observe and appreciate nature, play, or relax alone or in a small group, and participate in several sports. There is also a variety of good vantage points for birdwatching and a unique Community Discovery Garden funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service featuring native plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as a nature trail winding through the natural wilderness preserve section of Cedar Creek. Planned as a first phase learning experience for area school children and, in effect, an outdoor classroom, efforts are underway to add additional learning centers throughout the park.
To meet small group or individual needs, there are covered picnic tables, grills and playscapes for children. Peace, quiet and the soothing sounds of nature characterize the walking trail, spotted with historic markers depicting pioneer creek crossing points, or fords, on the park site. As a result, visitors can learn about life in early Texas back to 1835, when the area was first settled.
A regulation basketball court offers a place to play a pick-up game at either end, and there are horseshoe pits, as well as a pavilion dedicated to dominoes for a spirited game of “42.” Now that is truly Texan. The park also has facilities for local sports teams that are shared by the school district, organized youth sports leagues, and members of the community. There is also a full-size football/rugby field, along with youth soccer fields, two baseball fields and a T-Ball diamond.
Bastrop County’s First Park Leads the Way
The park is dotted with a number of plaques that help to explain the park’s origins and names a few of the leaders who were instrumental in its planning and development. Public agencies collaborated for land and funds support, members of the community worked together in planning efforts, volunteers manned large equipment and constructed portions of the park, and Boy Scout troops took on special projects in the park to finish some of the detail work. Truly, the larger community came together to create Cedar Creek Park. Everyone’s efforts culminated in a job well done, and the thankful residents of Bastrop County, as well as visitors from other locations, are enjoying the benefits.