Bastrop State Park Lake almost dry after dam failure

Bastrop State Park got about five inches of rain in just a couple of hours on Monday. The additional water on top of an already full lake was too much for the dam to handle and when it failed it drained the lake there almost completely dry.

"Just a big void now," said Jamie Hackett, Bastrop State Park Superintendent.

There's not much left of what was a full Bastrop State Park Lake Monday afternoon and the damage is widespread throughout the area.

"Obviously we have a dam to repair, but all of that water as it surged downstream impacted our hiking trails, our footbridges and some of our campsites in the park as well," said Hackett.

With the park closed and the lake dry, those that cater to park visitors know they are in for a tough couple of months.

"All the years they've taken to build that lake up, stocking it with their catfish and their bass, it's all gone and that was a lot of fish," said Bob Keefer, owner of The Bait Bucket.

"About half my business comes from there so it's going to affect me… I'll just have to buckle down and try a little harder I guess," Keefer added.

This isn't the first time disaster has struck at Bastrop State Park. In 2011 a fire burned through 96 percent of the park. Park Rangers are still cleaning up from that wreckage.

"We've made huge strides towards recovery. Our visitors have come back, we've planted over one million trees in the park and we're having great success on that front, so now we are faced with another natural disaster of the dam breaking and that amount of water that has gone downstream and we're just going to start all over again," said Hackett.

Park rangers have already started cleaning up debris left by the rushing water.

"We're in the very early assessment phases of what needs to be done, how we can make the park safe so we can get it open again," said Hackett.

Hackett said the park will definitely be closed through next Thursday and then she will reassess the damage. There is no definite date when it will re-open.

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