Brushy Creek area of Lake O’ the Pines still closed year after deadly storm

Brushy Creek area of Lake O’ the Pines still closed year after deadly storm
The Brushy Creek area of Lake O’ the Pines was still closed Monday, May 20. It's been more than a year since a deadly storm downed trees and destroyed infrastructure at the campground. (Jamey Boyum/KLTV Multimedia Journalist)

HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Although high water over an entrance road to Brushy Creek Campground at Lake O’ the Pines would shut it down right now, that’s not the reason it’s closed.

It’s because of a storm that happened in March of 2018. Straight line winds knocked down many trees and caused the death of a camper.

From Chopper 7 it was easy to see just how much damage was sustained by falling trees in March of 2018 at Brushy Creek, and it’s a sharp contrast to how it looks today.

Brad Grems, a natural resource specialist, said the trees may be gone but there is still a lot of work to do.

“We still have issues with electric and plumbing. When a lot of the trees were uprooted, the pipes actually burst from the PVC water lines to the sewer lines, and the electric lines got ripped up. A lot of them got ripped from the pedestal; there are even pedestals that have been knocked over, too,” Grems said.

There are a few volunteers staying at the campground to continue cleanup and repairs.

“We are using some of our supplemental funding right now to improve what we can. We don’t know that everything will be opened. We may have to leave a tent area closed, but we do want people to get back in here. We want people to come out here and enjoy the park again,” Grems explained.

When it happened a year ago, a big problem was just getting around on roads blocked by so many trees.

“Once we got the path cut in and out, we brought in a salvage logger, who came in and cleaned up a lot of the big trees that were down. We wanted to make sure that those trees didn’t just rot and die somewhere back in the woods where we set them. We wanted to put them to good use,” Grems stated.

He said the plumbing is 30 years old, and the electrical is 20 years old, so replacing that infrastructure will be a good thing.

“Probably is going to be a blessing in disguise because now we can put in new electric lines that will last for even longer, and hopefully our campers won’t have any issues once we have the park reopened,” Grems stated.

And they are always looking for park volunteers.

“The hands of the public on the campground are always a great success,” Grems added.

Grems says their plan is to reopen the campground on March 1, 2020. If you’d like to volunteer at Lake O’ the Pines, contact the Army Corps of Engineers.


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