Every now and then even a county park bears mentioning, and Berry Springs is one of those. Berry Springs is over 300 acres which is large for an urban county park. It lies roughly between Berry Creek and Dry Berry Creek.
Berry Springs is named for John Berry (1786-1866) who settled here from Kentucky after serving in the War of 1812. He ran a grist mill, a blacksmith and gun shop, dairy, and pecan groves which remain today.
A couple interesting notes about John Berry. He was married three times and had eighteen children. he is the Great Grandfather of Audie Murphy the most decorated American soldier from WWII.
Before John Berry the area was a favorite camping spot for the Tonkawa Indians.
Why are these massive springs here? They are part of the Edwards Aquifer the large aquifer that keeps this part of Texas in water. The Edwards Aquifer is one of the most prolific series of springs in the world. As an aquifer flows underground occasionally it comes to the surface as a spring. This occurs when the land is lower than the level of the aquifer.
Today Berry Springs has been dammed to form a small lake… to me more of a pond.
The biggest and best thing going on here is the restoration of the prairie. Most of the prairie in Texas and other states is gone. It has been replaced by farmland and concrete. In Texas over working the land caused nonnative species to overrun the prairie and change it. But at Berry Springs much of the 300 acres is now back to being original prairie or close to it.
As you can see by the first picture I am not alone today. I brought the trusty and loyal Quinn with me. I love him to death but he can make hiking very tedious. Male dogs, they have to stop , sniff and pee on everything!
Berry Springs also has camping, an improved campground and 10 primitive sites which are some of the best I have found in this part of Texas. Not a long haul, maybe 1 mile from the parking area, they are tucked to the side along Berry Creek.
At Site #8 there is a trail back into the woods. I had never taken it before today. It led to Berry Creek.
As you move past the dam comes the really good part. The pecan grove!
And since this is a county park owned by the people of the county you are allowed to come and gather all the pecans you want in season! Although looking at the trees as I passed through it looks like the cold February weather we had is going to lessen the Pecan crop this year.
Berry Springs, lots of history and the big prairie restoration project. Quite a place.