Big Thicket Grows By 3,600 Acres
March 11, 2010
Trail through Big Thicket National Preserve. Photo by Scott Jones/Flickr
Beaumont, TX — One of the most diverse and sensitive landscapes in America gained further protection recently with the National Park Service’s purchase of more than 3,600 acres of former Hancock Timber land in Hardin and Polk counties from The Conservation Fund. The land will become part of Big Thicket National Preserve.
Packed with an impressive amount of wildlife and plant species, the dense wilderness of the Big Thicket region in southeast Texas consists of important river corridors, productive wetlands, tall forests, open plains, pine savannas and dry sandhills. Big Thicket National Preserve—the nation’s first national preserve—protects the heart of the region and provides visitors with opportunities for hiking, canoeing, kayaking and wildlife viewing.
“The acquisition of this land brings us ever closer to completing the Big Thicket National Preserve Addition Act, which was authorized by Congress in order to connect existing preserve units, protect waterways and provide recreation opportunities for visitors,” said Todd Brindle, superintendent of Big Thicket National Preserve. “We are very grateful to The Conservation Fund for their continued support of Big Thicket National Preserve.”
This purchase establishes a continuous conservation corridor along Village Creek that provides habitat for migratory waterfowl and songbirds and serves as a floodplain that will benefit the communities along Village Creek and the Neches River.
“The Conservation Fund has been working with the National Park Service to expand Big Thicket National Preserve and restore the Big Thicket area to its former glory for more than eight years, and we’re thrilled to see this significant addition completed,” said Andy Jones, director of The Conservation Fund’s Texas office. “We’re thankful to the National Park Service, Senator Hutchison, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Brady for helping us rebuild the unique natural legacy of East Texas for future generations.”
“Once again The Conservation Fund was in the right place to assist in the transfer of 3,600 acres of timber land from Hancock Forest Management to the Big Thicket National Preserve,” said Bruce Drury, president of Big Thicket Association. “The Conservation Fund has the expertise and capability to bridge the gap between business and government in a way that is highly beneficial to all.”
The Texas congressional delegation—Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Kevin Brady – was key to the project’s completion, having secured $5 million in federal funding for the purchase from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The National Parks Conservation Association provided assistance with congressional outreach.
“Big Thicket National Preserve is a national treasure and one of the most biologically diverse areas in Texas,” said Sen. Hutchison. “The cooperative efforts to preserve these areas will make it easier for Texans, as well as visitors from across the country, to enjoy this unique area for generations to come.”
“Safeguarding our forestlands and protecting our wildlife are important responsibilities, and the successful completion of this project illustrates the economic and environmental benefits that can be sustained through the cooperation of public and private entities,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The Big Thicket is a valuable asset to East Texas, and I am pleased these lands will be preserved for future generations of Texans to enjoy.”
“This purchase will continue to protect this magnificent and diverse area for the enjoyment of visitors from Texas and throughout the world,” said Rep. Brady. “The Big Thicket is southeast Texas’ ecological jewel and I’m honored to help preserve it for future generations to enjoy.”
The Conservation Fund has helped preserve nearly 137,000 acres in Texas, including 32,000 acres at Big Thicket National Preserve. In addition, the Fund launched the Texas Pineywoods Experience, an ecotourism and economic development program for the region, and established Texas’ largest wetlands mitigation bank, the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank.
Photo: Photo: Annie Bradford/Flickr (top); Micheal Eason (bottom).
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.
Renowned as the “biological crossroads of North America,” Big Thicket is a remarkable mix of southeastern swamps, eastern deciduous forest, central plains, pine savannas and dry sandhills. There are 10 distinct ecosystems within the nearly 106,000-acre preserve that are home… Read More