HOME OF THE BIG TREE
Goose Island State Park, located along the southern end of Lamar Peninsula, rests atop an oyster shell island. Bays, marshland, and shell ridges comprise the state park environment, providing ideal habitat for more than 300 species of birds, including the endangered whooping cranes who feed on the marsh blue crabs. Sea-ox-eye daisies, dropseed grass, glasswort, and wolfberry grow across the terrain and, on the mainland portion of the park, American beautyberry, coral bean, and live oak trees thrive.
The park is also home to "The Big Tree," a Quercus virginiana estimated to be nearly 2,000 years old. It is, quite possibly, the largest and oldest live oak tree in Texas with a circumference of more than 35 feet. Climatologists believe the tree has survived at least 50 hurricanes as well as wildfires, periods of drought, and severe flooding. Remarkably, it also survived bombing by the Union Navy during the Civil War, an onslaught of firepower that destroyed the nearby town of Lamar. Big Tree was cared-for during the CCC's time at the park, when the Corps improved roads, cleared brush and built the Recreation Hall from shell blocks made on site. No swim beach is available at the park due to a marshy shoreline interspersed with concrete bulkheads, but Park Rangers offer regularly scheduled guided tours and interpretive programs. Too much activity? Thanks to The Big Tree's 90-foot crown spread, there's plenty of shade for rest time.