LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)
Over a year ago, thousands of acres in the Bastrop State Park were destroyed by wildfire. Now, Lufkin is making a contribution to restore trees that were lost.
East Texas News found out what role Brookshire Brothers. is playing in replanting seeds in the park. Seeds sitting on the top shelf of a refrigerated Brookshire Brothers warehouse are now being put to good use.
"To recover what we lost in the Bastrop wildfire will take multiple years, but this is a good step forward," Shane Harrington, a forester and a farm bill coordinator, said.
Texas Forest Service officials say 10 years ago, loblolly pine and others seed species were collected from the Bastrop seeds for research and growing in other Texas areas. Today 26,000 seedlings arrived at Bastrop State Park. Harrington said they will help replenish the 75 percent of the pines lost in the wildfires last September.
"We've been sitting on that seed source for more than 10 years, and it's kind of lucky that we had it," Harrington said.
The seedlings are kept in a minus 12 degree cooler with products from frozen dinners to vanilla ice cream.
"They do tests on them periodically to germinate the seeds to make sure they are still germinated, and they said they have a 99 percent success rate," Chad Murray, the frozen food facility manager for Brookshire Brothers.
Along with seeds kept here locally, additional seedlings are being grown in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Over the next few months 550,000 seeds will be planted in the park.
"They just come and get the seeds as they need it," Murray said.
Officials said the fire burned 33,000 acres, but with the help of Brookshire Brothers and local nurseries the park is on the road to recovery.
Without their help this process would have taken a lot longer to get off the ground," Harrington said.
This weekend, volunteers will begin planting the trees in the state park.Officials say the efforts will last through February.