In the waters of Chemin-A-Haut Creek stands one of the oldest cypress trees in Louisiana, and in honor of its age and historical importance, it has been chosen for the cover of the 2019 Louisiana Official Tour Guide.
The decision to place it on the cover was announced at the Tourism and Travel Conference in Lake Charles Thursday, August 23. Chamber of Commerce Director Dorothy Ford thinks it may have come to the attention of the state through government officials.
“Both Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and Secretary of State Parks have had personal tours and were just so impressed,” said Ford. “I'm sure they realized just what a treasure it is.”
The cypress tree is the state tree of Louisiana and a source of great pride. This particular cypress tree known to locals as the “Castle” is one of the most ancient in Louisiana at 1,200 plus years. Located in the middle of Chemin-A-Haut Creek, it is 20 feet in diameter and has a hollow cavern which can be entered by canoe. The hollow can only be seen by boat and becomes submerged in high water.
“Ive seen it once myself and it's just beautiful,” said Ford.
It is historically significant as it is one of six trees known as Bicentennial trees which were alive at the time of Louisiana's statehood in 1803. It was around in the days of the bow and arrow and when the first european explorers came. It was around for many significant events in the history of Louisiana.
“As it turns out it is the oldest cypress in the state,” said Ford.
In 2012 the tree was studied by Harvey Stern, coordinator of the Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Program. The goal of this program is to help inform others about these ancient trees and try to preserve them. He took measurements and core samples and helped determine its age. It was catalogued on the LPCL website. In honor of the tree being noted as a Bicentennial, he also gave the park a plaque to be placed on the tree which notes its significance
Because of the historical significance of this tree, it will be on the front cover of the Louisiana Official Tour Guide which is placed in Welcome Centers and Tourism Bureaus throughout the state.
“This is an honor,' said Ford.
Ford said the local Chamber is expecting its own shipment of the guide within the next few months.
Bastrop is very proud of this recognition and hopes the “castle” will continue to stand for many years to come.