Martin Creek Lake
Interpretive Guide of Martin Creek Lake State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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texas parks and wildlife Interpretive Guide to: MARTIN CREEK LAKE STATE PARK THANK YOU FOR VISITING! While enjoying this natural beauty, please remember that everything you see in the park is protected. Artifacts, rocks, plants, and animals (even snakes) are all part of the region’s rich cultural and natural heritage. Help us keep recreational use sustainable for the future and protect these resources by leaving things as you find them. We hope you will visit these other state parks while visiting East Texas: WELCOME TO MARTIN CREEK LAKE STATE PARK, A PEACEFUL HAVEN AMONG THE PINES. ANGLERS YOUNG AND OLD SEEK THE NEXT BIG ONE IN THE LAKE, AND SHADED CAMPSITES AND TRAILS Caddo Lake State Park 245 Park Road 2 Karnack, Texas 75661 (903) 679-3351 Tyler State Park 789 Park Road 16 Tyler, Texas 75706 (903) 597-5338 Daingerfield State Park 455 Park Road 17 Daingerfield, Texas 75638 (903) 645-2921 Purtis Creek State Park 14225 FM 316 Eustace, Texas 75124 (903) 425-2332 Visit www.tpwd.texas.gov for more information on these and other Texas state parks and historic sites. OFFER REFUGE TO VISITORS. KICK BACK AND RELAX WHILE YOU’RE HERE. Proud Sponsor of Texas Parks and Wildlife Programs © 2016 TPWD. PWD BR P4508-111J (7/16) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. M A R T I N C R E E K L A K E S T A T E P A R K WOODS AND WATER TRAILS THROUGH TIME T he warm waters of Martin Creek Lake are well known for fishing, with a healthy largemouth bass population that spawns two months earlier than those in nearby lakes. Catfish are another popular game fish here, and many younger anglers have good luck catching sunfish, too. For thousands of years, people have survived and thrived in what is now East Texas. The land first provided food, water, and shelter to groups of Native Americans who moved from place to place, usually following the seasons or food. Caddo Indians eventually created permanent villages along waterways in this area. They grew crops like corn, beans, and squash, and cultivated a complex society. The Caddo were well known among tribes in the South, maintaining far-reaching trade routes. Anglo settlers moved into this part of Texas in the early 19th century, displacing the Caddo. Martin Creek Lake bears the name of one of the first Anglo settlers, Daniel Martin, who settled nearby with his family in 1833. The Caddo established permanent villages in the area. On the eve of the Civil War, Harmony Hill was a small but bustling stop on the road to Shreveport. Travelers and residents shopped at a handful of stores and attended one of several churches. Just like the Caddo, many settlers relied on agriculture. Cotton gins and grist mills served the town, along with a small furniture factory and a blacksmith shop. Harmony Hill, Texas These settlers transformed a narrow Indian trail into Trammel’s Trace, a wagon road that wound its way from Texas to Arkansas. Trammel’s Trace brought more people here, as did the Henderson-to-Shreveport Road. With the establishment of the town of Harmony Hill, this area became a natural rest stop for travelers. Like many people, birds are also seeking their next meal in the water. Look for shorebirds like great blue herons, green herons, and great egrets standing still, peering intently into the lake. When they spot a fish, their long beak acts like a spear, darting through the water. Blotched water snakes, diamondback water snakes, and cottonmouths are common in and around the lake. These water-loving reptiles mostly eat small fish and frogs. Beyond the lakeshore, many more animals make their home in the lush pine forest. Loblolly and shortleaf pine trees make good homes and provide a buffet of bugs for woodpeckers and raccoons. On the forest floor, look for nine-banded armadillos, white-tailed deer, and swamp rabbits moving about the undergrowth. In the fall, the forest offers a colorful show of fall foliage. Hardwoods, like water oak and blackgum that live along the lakeshore and drainages, change their colors with a flourish. Railroads brought prosperity to many towns in Texas, but not Harmony Hill. When the railroad bypassed the village in favor of nearby Tatum, Harmony Hill faced a sharp decline. By 1900, just a few families still lived here. All that remains of early settlements are a few trails that crisscross the woods of Martin Creek Lake State Park. Some of the park’s hiking trails use these historic routes, too. When you hit the trails, you are sharing the paths with the generations that walked before you. Tatum, Texas railroad depot