Park Pick: Heavenly Haven
Fort Boggy offers swimming and solitude in an emerald forest.
By Walt Bailey
Thump, thump, thump!
A woodpecker pounds on a tree off to my right as I begin my trip around the lake at Fort Boggy State Park. Clusters of bright red berries catch my eye as nearby tree branches drape over the still waters. I try to see the woodpecker, but the sound stops, then resumes. Farther down the trail, the path climbs abruptly, until splashes of green moss appear at the top. An oak trunk zigs to the right, then zags left and stabs its branches at the sky.
All along the way, I pass densely packed trees, shrubs and grasses. Hardwood trunks cavort this way and that above a bed of evergreen understory. A warm blanket of silence wraps around me as a picnic table appears at another steep rise along the trail.
Green growth shrouds everything until the lake reappears behind a clearing. The trail hugs the lake as it returns me to where I started.
Without a doubt, hiking Fort Boggy offers a refuge of solitude. And even a novice can hike all of the park’s trails within a couple of hours.
The park opened in 2001 with 1,847 acres of land donated by Eileen Crain Sullivan. Somewhere in the vicinity (no one knows exactly where), Texas Rangers established a now-vanished log fort in 1840 to protect settlers from raids by the local Keechi and Kickapoo tribes.
But Fort Boggy offers much more than history.
“Swimming in the lake is by far the most popular activity here,” says Superintendent Wes Hamilton.
The lake also offers anglers a chance to catch blue catfish, largemouth bass and, after stocking in late January, rainbow and brown trout. The placid waters provide easy travel for anglers who use kayaks to pursue their quarry. Those who’d like to fish but didn’t bring the gear can take advantage of the park’s tackle loaner program.
Other visitors come just to look at nature. The park provides home for 60 bird and 700 plant species. Hamilton says that he sees bobcats, white-tailed deer, painted buntings and wood ducks throughout the year. In spring, carpets of bluebonnets and other wildflowers border the park trails.
Park facilities include picnic tables and grills for spreads of ribs, burgers and hot dogs. In the spring and summer, families use the park’s open pavilion for birthday parties, family reunions or wedding receptions. Fort Boggy State Park is located four miles south of Centerville on Texas Highway 75. It is open on weekends only from 8 a.m. to sunset. For more information, call (903) 344-1116 or go to www.texasstateparks.org.
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