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LAKE SOMERVILLE STATE RECREATION AREA

LAKE SOMERVILLE STATE RECREATION AREA. The Lake Somerville State Recreation Area, on the shores of Somerville Lake, thirty miles southwest of Bryan in southern Burleson and eastern Lee counties, is one of the most popular recreational resorts in south central Texas. It attracts almost 300,000 visitors annually. The park consists of two separate sections, the 640-acre Birch Creek unit in Burleson County, on the northern shore of the lake near the town of Somerville, and the 300-acre Nails Creek Unit, on the lake's southwestern rim in Lee County. Acquired from the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1969, two years after the completion of Somerville Dam, these two units are connected by the Somerville Trailway, a twenty-two-mile system of hiking and nature trails on the western edge of the reservoir. The woodlands along the shores of Lake Somerville feature several species of oak, including post, water, red, and blackjack, abundant groves of willows, and dense stands of yaupon; post and red oaks and yaupon undergrowth cover about half of the land in the vicinity of the lake. White-tailed deer, coyotes, armadillos, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and many songbirds can be seen in both park units. Much of the shoreline consists of sandy beach. During periods of unusually intense rainfall low-lying portions of the shore become submerged and acquire the marshy appearance of a Louisiana bayou.

Swimming, skiing, boating, and camping are favorite activities within the park. The Birch Creek unit includes five miles of hiking trails. Three campgrounds offer 103 multiple-use campsites with water, electricity, and chemical toilets. A group trailer area affords accommodation for thirty vehicles and features a group dining hall. The Nails Creek unit has three miles of trails and three campgrounds with forty multiple-use campsites. Both park units provide picnic sites, restrooms, boat ramps, and fish-cleaning shelters. The Somerville Trailway connecting the Birch Creek and Nails Creek units is open to both pedestrian and equestrian traffic and features numerous rest stops and shade shelters. A spectacular spring wildflower display occurs annually on the trail section between the Nails Creek headquarters and Flag Pond.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Carlton Bailes and Danny L. Hudson, A Guide to Texas Lakes, Including the Brazos, Colorado, Frio and Guadalupe Rivers (Houston: Pacesetter Press, 1982). Mickey Little, Hiking and Backpacking Trails of Texas (Houston: Lone Star, 1981; 3d ed. 1990).

Charles Christopher Jackson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Charles Christopher Jackson, "LAKE SOMERVILLE STATE RECREATION AREA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/gkl15), accessed April 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.