From the Annals of the National Treasures – In 1968, Lady Bird Johnson dedicated Padre Island National Seashore. Padre Island is the largest barrier island in the U.S. and PINS is the longest seashore in the national park system. Protecting this precious resource was not easy. Texas attempted to establish a state park on Padre Island beginning in 1936. The effort failed in a contentious struggle between public and private interests over ownership of the land. In 1958, Sen. Ralph Yarborough (D-Texas) introduced a bill to establish a national park on the island, and the proposal was finally signed into law in 1962. The dedication of the park followed five years of condemnation proceedings.
From the Annals of Flora – In 1901, the Texas legislature proclaimed the bluebonnet (lupinis texensis) to be the official state flower. The shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by women pioneers. The use of the flower to beautify Texas highways did not begin with Lady Bird Johnson. The effort preceded her admirable work by at least 30 years. In the 1930s the state began a highway-beautification program that included scattering bluebonnet seed along highways and byways. The bluebonnet is the subject of many landscape paintings – mostly bad. With the reasonable rains we have had, the show should be fairly good this year. Just be careful when pulling off the highway for your bluebonnet picture. The peak of bluebonnet season is usually in late March or early April.