Claiborne West Park re-opened Monday after being closed because of Hurricane Ike.

Just as with the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, Ike downed many park trees, said Director Donna Scales.

“Originally the county was going to pay for it, but we got some money from the governor’s office and the state of Texas,” Scales said. “The crews had to go all along the trails and cleaned up 400 to 500 trees.”

As reported late Monday on, the trails are open on what Scales calls the “improved side,” while crews are still working some undeveloped east side trails, she said.
“It’s going to take longer for that side because it’s so wet back there,” she said. “Even with the lack of rain we’ve had lately it’s still very wet.”

After Hurricane Rita, Claiborne West Park received some assistance from the Forest Service, she said.

“They were not able to do that this time,” she said. Scales isn’t sure why the service did not participate.

Every broken limb still hanging from a tree after the storm – literally thousands of them – had to be documented through paperwork, including legislative approval and other venues, she said.

“It’s not a perfect setting yet, because we still have some cleanup to do,” she said.

The park, which began operation in 1975, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information, call 745-2255. Scales says she’s “in and out” so callers may have to leave a message which will be returned.

Born in Franklin County, Tenn., Claiborne West moved to Louisiana; and in 1824 married Anna Garner. He was one of the original settlers on Cow Bayou, and one of 58 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836; according to research by area historian Dr. Howard C. Williams.

“As one of the representatives from Liberty municipality, he attended the 1832 convention and the 1835 consultation at San Felipe de Austin,” according to Williams. “West was responsible for the designation of Cow Bayou as Jefferson municipality, the forerunner of Jefferson and later Orange County. He served as a representative from the municipality to the general council and acted as local postmaster.”

He also helped draft the Republic of Texas Constitution. From July to October, 1836, West served in Franklin Hardin’s company of volunteers. He then served in the First Congress of the Republic of Texas.