in Monahans Sandhills State Park.
Photo by Doug Baum
miles East of Monahans is one of the most
interesting arboreal oddities in the United States - a miniature
forest of (Havard Oak) trees that only reach waist high.
The sandhills themselves comprise 4,000 acres of sand dunes, while
the "forest" occupys 40,000 acres, making it technically one of the
largest oak forests in the U.S. The park opened in 1957 and is managed
by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
(Visitors center in Sandhills State Park
About 6 miles E. of Monahans) :
State Park and Museum
"In these shifting
seas of sand, rich in stone evidences of primitive men, today's visitors
find flint points, sandstone metates and manos of peoples who were
here as early as 10,000 years ago and late as the 1870s. Bones of
great mammoths and gigantic bison prove that this desert was in post-glacial
times a land of lakes and tall grasses.
Cabeza de Vaca in 1535 and Antonio de Espejo in 1583 encountered Jumanos,
historic tribe which hunted here. In 1590 Castaño de Sosa found a
tribe he called Vaqueros because they lived by hunting cows (buffalo)--the
tribe later called Apaches.
For more than 100 years at this stop on great Comanche War Trail extending
into Mexico. Apache fought Comanche for pools of water and acorns
of dwarf Shinnery oak. The California or Emigrant Trail through the
Sand Hills started with the gold rush. Was first mapped in September
1849 by Capt. Randolph B. Marcy, U.S. topographical engineers, and
in 1854 by Capt. John Pope, who explored a railroad route toward the
3,000 acres of Sand Hills were designated in 1957 as a state park,
after acquisition and construction of museum by Ward County. Has picnic
by Mike Cox
"When cartoonist friend Roger T. Moore, a West Texan with a
sense of humor as big as one of the dozens of wind turbines looking
down on his ranch, told me that the largest oak forest in North
America covers some 40,000 acres near Monahans, it sounded like
a setup.... Not many people know it, but Ward County does indeed
have the U.S.’s largest concentration of a species called the Havard
oak... For those who are interested, the “forest” is readily accessible
from the paved roadway that winds through the park....more"
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact