Volunteers plant over 5,000 trees at Sam Houston Jones State Park

Volunteers gathered to plant thousands of trees in the park Saturday morning.
Volunteers gathered to plant thousands of trees in the park Saturday morning.(Louisiana Office of State Parks)
Published: Feb. 19, 2022 at 12:10 PM CST
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Lake Charles, La. (KPLC) - Volunteers planted over 5,000 trees at Sam Houston Jones State Park Saturday morning, the Louisiana Office of State Parks announced. The event is part of ongoing efforts to rebuild the park after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage in 2020.

The storm caused 80% of the park’s trees to topple or be damaged beyond saving, according to Louisiana State Parks. Since the storm, crews have been working to build new cabins, pavilions, and upgrade water and sewer systems with a goal of reopening in the spring.

“Our team has done a tremendous job at Sam Houston Jones State Park, from clearing out all the downed trees and debris to rebuilding cabins, pavilions and other areas of the park,” said Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. “I’d like to thank all the volunteers for donating their time to help ensure we stay on track to reopen as soon as possible. Nobody wants to see Sam Houston Jones State Park open more than we do.”

Sasol and The Nature Conservancy donated funding, materials and resources to the event. Sasol provided $10,000 to purchase containerized-magnolia trees planted near the park entrance, according to Louisiana State Parks.

The Nature Conservancy mapped the tree planting arrangement and coordinated the planting. Louisiana State Parks also purchased additional trees and shrubs for the event.

“Sasol is proud to be a part of the replanting efforts for Sam Houston Jones State Park,” said Eric Walker, vice president of operations. “The benefits of having more trees in our community go beyond beauty. Trees act as water and air filters, can slow down floodwaters, and provide shade for wildlife. The work of our volunteers, The Nature Conservancy and Louisiana State Parks will restore, preserve, and enhance local ecosystems, which is something we can all be proud of.”

In addition to today’s event, The Nature Conservancy and Citgo recently donated and coordinated the planting of over 5,000 longleaf pine trees at Sam Houston Jones State Park, according to Louisiana State Parks.

“We don’t need to tell anyone - Hurricane Laura was devastating, but it also offers an opportunity to shift course at Sam Houston Jones. Longleaf pine is more wind resistant than other native pines, and when properly managed, longleaf pine savanna is among the most biodiverse natural communities in North America,” said The Nature Conservancy stewardship manager William DeGravelles. “The Nature Conservancy is excited to work with the Office of State Parks to re-establish longleaf and other species and to restore savanna for the enjoyment and education of the public.”

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