Interpretive Guide of Huntsville State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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INTERPRETIVE GUIDE HUNTSVILLE STATE PARK Huntsville State Park is a recreational and cultural area but also a nature preserve. Please help us protect the park’s resources and your safety by following park rules. HUNTSVILLE STATE PARK OPENS A DOOR TO 2,000 ACRES OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE, FAMILY FUN, NATURE, AND HISTORY. YOU CAN CAMP, CATCH A BASS, SWIM, PICNIC, HIKE OR BIKE MORE THAN 20 MILES OF TRAILS. THE BEATING HEART OF A Call the park to schedule your group for programs on natural and cultural history. Park interpreters staff a nature center and offer a variety of programs. Check with park headquarters for more information. Huntsville State Park 565 Park Road 40 W P.O. Box 508 Huntsville, TX 77342-0508 (936) 295-5644 www.tpwd.texas.gov/huntsville www.facebook.com/HuntsvilleSP/ PROUD COMMUNITY, THE PARK CONNECTS YOU TO PAST AND PRESENT. © 2020 TPWD. PWD BR P4505-044Q (4/20) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at email@example.com. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. Texas State Parks is a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. H U N T S V I L L E S T A T E P A R K NATURAL HISTORY CCC Company 1823, composed of African American veterans of World War I, built a large earthen dam and constructed a road along the lake shore and built a concession building of stone and timber. CULTURAL HISTORY People have lived here for thousands of years. In the 1500s, when Europeans began exploring this area, they found Bidai Indians. The Bidai hunted and farmed the land. Half of them died from disease during the 1770s. The survivors joined other tribes and left the area during the 1850s. Anglo Americans founded the town of Huntsville just after the Texas Revolution in 1837 with a trading post and post office. Republic of Texas president and Texas state governor Sam Houston lived in Huntsville for many years and is buried here. Park features including Lake Raven and the Raven Hill Campground recall Houston’s Cherokee name: the Raven. After the Civil War, the forest surrounding the community felt the ax of the East Texas logging boom. Loggers cut thousands of acres in this area, including what is now Huntsville State Park. But logging of park land stopped before the First World War. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Huntsville community united to build a new park. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal sent a 200-man Civilian Conservation Corps company to do the job. The company’s African American enrollees dammed up creeks to construct Lake Raven. They replanted the forest and constructed the park lodge and other features. Heavy rain caused the dam to collapse in 1940, delaying the park’s completion for ten years. But it opened to the public on May 18, 1956. OUTDOOR RECREATION Huntsville’s plant and animal communities include mixed pine and hardwood forests, lake, and wetland. This rich and diverse habitat is a beacon that brings life in many forms to the park. More than 250 bird species have been seen at Huntsville. The park’s variety of habitats support both migrant and year-round resident birds. Birders use the Coloneh Trail blind to observe both forest and wetland species. Songbirds, herons, hawks, ducks, and even bald eagles have all been observed at the park. The lake and wetlands also support animals including otter, beaver, and American alligators. Beavers built small ponds in the eastern end of Lake Raven at Little Chinquapin Creek. Their work feeds them while adding new habitat that increases the diversity of life. The ponds slow the flow of stream water and allow the entry of new types of aquatic plants. When beavers cut down trees they favor certain species, changing the forest. A few American alligators live in the park wetlands. Top predators, alligators hunt in marsh areas along the water’s edge. They are most active at night during the summer and at day during the winter. L ake Raven is known for the quality size bass you can catch here. White and yellow bass, sunfish, flathead, and channel catfish also patrol the lake in search of food. Paddlers enjoy journeys against a cathedral forest backdrop. Within a designated area, you can even go swimming. Over 20 miles of rustic trails through the forest provide adventure and scenic beauty. They offer something to hikers and bikers of all experience levels. The park also gives you time to enjoy it all from one of 187 campsites that dot the lakeshore.