Story from Garner Trailwork Weekend - January 2000
The Isleib family has been part of the life of Garner State Park since the late 30s / early 40s. My dad was stationed at Fort Clark and my mom worked in the CCC office in Uvalde. They would camp in the back of their car, graduated to a one wheel trailer and tents with 5 kids, a Twilight Bungalow, and ultimately Park Hosts in a Class C Cabover, (retired/grown kids/nobody to set up tent, cots, etc!). Mom was the Recreation Director for the Galena Park School District summer camping program - and with five kids, we ended up spending our summers at Garner growing up. We packed a week’s worth of clothes and went to Happy Hollow to do laundry each weekend.
When Friends of Garner was organized, we of course became involved. Family friendship with George and Diane Foshee kept us up to date on Garner happenings. At the 2000 Trailwork Weekend, my niece, Leah Stewart (at age 11) and I somehow became involved with trying to identify one of the little trails on the CCC boys’ map. Because I was teaching Orienteering in my PE Classes at WC Andrews Elementary School in Portland, Texas, it was the perfect time for investigating where that shortcut was. I call it a little shortcut on the Foshee Trail that avoids the climb up to the Shady Oak tree.
We took the map, compass and orange flagging tape and started searching for the trailhead starting point. I pointed the compass and Leah would walk as far I could see her and hang a tape on a tree branch. From that point, she would walk the compass direction until I couldn’t see her anymore and hang tape on a tree. She just “hop-scotched” on the path ignoring cedar trees grown up in the way and deer/goat paths branching off. We knew we were on the right trail because occasionally we could see rocks along the edge that were originally placed by the CCC boys!
I’m not sure who did the actually clearing of the trail but I’m sure it was FOG folks. Leah ended up earning a badge from Girls Scouts, wrote a report for one of her classes, and I was in utter shock the next time I saw a trail map and it had “Polly’s Trail” on it. I had no idea that Leah and I would be on the trail map of the best, most wonderful state park in Texas! Thank you, FOG!
A woman and her son were hiking in the park this weekend when they came across some fossils. The mother wanted to keep the fossils, but her 17 year old son pointed out that is in fact illegal to take any artifacts from a state park. After some deliberation, they decided the right thing to do was to turn them into headquarters on their way out. Office staff let me know that some fossils were turned in, so I picked them up for identification. I called said “fossil lady,” and emailed her articles I used to help identify a particularly unique fossil in great condition. She was very grateful and kind. I assured her that they did the right thing and I will now use this fossilized echinoid in interpretive programs to help depict what the hill country landscape consisted of millions of years ago!
Attached is a picture of the fossil found and below are links to the articles I utilized to identify and learn more about echinoids.
Park Interpreter & Volunteer Coordinator
Garner State Park
It is with great sadness we want to let you know that Diane Foshee passed away on October 9, 2019. A memorial service was held October 19, 2019, at Leakey United Methodist Church, in Leakey, Texas, where Diane was an active member for many years.
Diane and her husband George were generous and compassionate supporters of and contributors to Garner State Park. She was one of the founders of FRIENDS OF GARNER and a significant developer of Garner’s trail system. Her tales of coming to the park as a child in the 40s and her narration of the history will be missed but have been saved for future generations. Please join us in thoughts and prayers for her loving family.
A MEMORIAL HIKE took place on SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2020, during the TRAIL WORK WEEKEND, sponsored by Diane's family.