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Martin Creek Lake State Park Website
9515 County Road 2181D
Tatum, TX 75691-3425
Hiking Trail and Park Info
Donít got to Martin Creek Lake State Park and expect a quite get-away. There is a HUGE power plant that can be heard from almost anywhere in the park, including along the trails. According to park staff it is the number one complaint of park visitors. The park does have a 1.5 mile hiking trail that winds itís way through a beautiful forest with many varieties of hardwoods, interspersed with loblolly and short-leaf pine trees. The hiking trail has many little benches where you can rest along your hike/walk.
They had a storm and the trails still need to be repaired and signage needs to be corrected.
Very Easy / Beginners
$8.00 a night for primitive camping
TPWD Maps (In pdf format)
Map Of Park
Primitive Campsites as of 09/2010
Donít believe the 2007 and 2009 editions of the "Texas State Park Guide". The first sentence meant to entice you to come to the park is a flat out LIE. It states, "A small island in the lake, reached via a footbridge, has primitive campsites for back-packers wanting a quiet retreat".
Instead of listening to the sounds of nature you will be awakened several times in the middle of the night by the screeching sounds of train after train applying their breaks as they bring coal to the power plant. After that you will hear the train whistles/horns several times. This will happen with every train and the trains will run all freakin night long. Even the constant mechanistic noise from the running of the power plant will not cover up the noises made by the trains.
Note the power plant running noise is so loud that you canít hold a normal conversation in your tent. Iím not kidding, I had to on several occasions every night ask my boyfriend who was trying to sleep on the mat next to me to repeat himself because I could not understand some of what he was saying.
On the first night take all the loud noises I just discussed, the trains breaking, the train whistles, and the power plant running noise and add to it a series of what could best be described as three consecutive loud thuds, or drum beats. These loud bangs would always come in threeís but could not be fully predicted, this made it even more difficult for your brain to try to turn it into a loud white noise. I tried to envision a native American Drum ritual to try to sike myself into accepting the bangs enough to go to sleep. It was maddening. Why not plug your ears you ask? I tried that, you could still hear everything, but at a lower level with your ears plugged. Why not move to a different campsite? We could not do that either because our camp site was on the far end of the island, literally one of the farthest places you could be.
You will notice this noise during the day (which really sucks), but itís not as big a deal because you arenít trying to sleep then.
I think the thing that bothers me most is that I called ahead of time (on 4 different occasions) and told the park staff that we were making a 3 hour drive (each way) to the park and that I didnít want any unwelcome surprises. I asked every question I could think of and in short am really disappointed that someone did not mention it. Fairfield Lake State Park also has a power plant and we camped at that park. We didnít see or hear the power plant at Fairfield Lake. I asked the staff if I could see the power plant from the specific campsite where we were staying and they said no, it never occurred to me to ask if we could hear it, because the guide said "quiet retreat". Beware that many of the campsites on the north-east side of the island where the foot bridge is have a full scale view of the power plant in all itís majesty.
We stayed 3 of our planned 4 nights because we just could not stand another night of torture. I realize the only reason the park exists is because of the power plant and it did make me appreciate the cost we as the biggest consumers of power have to pay for our insatiable energy consumption.
I spoke to the highest level staff member at the park at length regarding this in September of 2010. Call and see if they have updated any of their brochures and if the staff will now tell you about the noise of the power plant.
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