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Explore, Enjoy and Protect

Houston Regional Group - News
Bates M. Allen Park – A Hidden Treasure
Brandt Mannchen

Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to enjoy a hot summer day, or any day, and provide you with close-up opportunities to view wildlife. There are many opportunities to use a canoe or kayak in our area but I would like to introduce you to one that is hardly known.

Bates M. Allen Park, a Fort Bend County Park, is found just off U.S. 59 South as this highway leaves Fort Bend County and enters Wharton County. The San Bernard River forms the boundary between these two counties and the boundary for Bates Allen Park.

To get to the park you exit at FM 2919 (Lum Road exit) and turn left under U.S. 59 and then turn right at the first road you come to, Roberts Road, and then follow that road until you enter the park gate. You then follow the park road all the way to its end. When you get to the end you will find a parking area, fishing pier, canoe/kayak boat ramp, and the Jim Allen Nature Trail.

A walk on the nature trail takes you through Columbia Bottomlands habitat with large Water Oak, Sugarberry, Water Hickory, Cedar Elm, Green Ash, and Palmetto trees framing your forest perspective. You can only marvel at this diverse hardwood forest.

But it is without a doubt the huge Bald Cypress trees that line both sides of the San Bernard River that leave you inspired and breathless. A canoe trip through this shaded canopy with cypress knees that jut three feet or more in height is not only mysterious but delightful! The San Bernard River is very wide at the boat ramp and provides the perfect beginners’ easy float trip down a scenic, wild, and lovely river. Photographers will be imaging to their heart’s desire and nature lovers will thrill as wading birds like Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons flush and fly, prehistoric-like, down the channel ahead of you.

So whenever you want to get away from it all think of Bates Allen Park. You will be glad you did!

November 2011

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Last updated:  11/21/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.