Extreme weather causes problems at SFA Gayla Mize Gardens

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Gayla Mize Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University was the last trail system to open after the February snowstorm due to down debris and dangerous trees. Now another problem faces the trail system - flooding.

Before hard rain came once again in Nacogdoches, Alice and Ray Fatheree and their dogs, Delta Dawn and Buddy got in their daily walk at Gayla Mize Gardens. They know what’s different.

“Yeah we come every day,” Alice said.

“Yeah, that snow and everything and freeze really tore the pines up,” Ray pointed out.

And more recently at least 11 inches of rain over the last couple of weeks caused more problems.

SFA Gardens director Dr. David Creech can’t seem to get a break.

“A lot of that debris floated, and we blocked up some huge culverts, and we ended up with a flood at Gayla Mize that we never get,” Creech said.

Burrows Creek, which flows through Gayla Mize, didn’t cause a big problem other than leaving large sand deposits.

Creech, who supervised the garden construction, said the debris pile grew in size following the snowstorm. It redirected the drainage.

“We ended up with a pretty sizeable flood that came into both the south and north end of Gayla Mize,” described Creech, who waded through the floodwaters last week.

Some walkways are closed, but the park remains open for visitors. You can still go in and enjoy yourself, but it is advised that you need to be careful.

Favorite stops, like the labyrinth, are accessible for people to ponder all this rain.

“It’s kinda the confluence of the perfect storm,” Creechaid with a laugh.

In between rainfalls, a small crew at Gayla Mize will clean up the mess, make repairs, and replace an ineffective drip irrigation system with an overhead sprinkler system.

By summer’s end, the Fatherees, will have their familiar garden back in place.

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