Martin Dies Jr. State Park
Martin Dies Jr. State Park is one of our favorite parks we visited this summer. The park itself is two different sections sandwiching US highway 190 out by Jasper, Texas. When we visited, the lake levels were low due to dam repairs, meaning we had the chance to walk on the lakebed. Amy Kocurek, the park’s interpreter, was very personable and a joy to talk to. We talked about a number of things while in her company, but the main topics were conservation and programs the park offers.
Ranger Kocurek educates the general public on why Martin Dies Jr. State Park is important. She does this through nature walks and programs such as birding, snake talks, and Bigfoot hikes.Ranger Kocurek also goes to schools, daycares, and farmers markets to spread awareness of the importance of conserving the Earth. She talks about how people say there are too many regulations, but those who say that are mainly big business advocates trying to dump waste in rivers and lakes. Through her programs and school trips, Ranger Kocurek helps educate the younger generations on how to be more environmentally conscious.
In our time with Ranger Kocurek, we had a wonderful conversation about history and the importance of conserving state parks. She told us about how easily we forget parts of history. For example, there are these huge culverts with capped water mains, and no one at the park knew what they were. That is until Ranger Kocurek looked at some old pictures and saw that they were water fountains from the 1960s. This is not old history, but as time goes on, we tend to forget the seemingly mundane things around us. Ranger Kocurek used this fact to really stress the importance of preservation of both history and state parks.
Martin Dies Jr. is a wonderful place to go and relax for a day or even a weekend. With numerus wildlife programs and plenty of recreational activities, Martin Dies Jr. State Park is a great place to go and spend time with friends and family! The park is only about an hour and a half away from Nacogdoches, so go check it out!
Mary Piro is a sophomore currently studying history at Stephen F. Austin State University.