Big Thicket National Preserve
Trail through Big Thicket. Photo by Scott Jones/Flickr
Did You Know?
- Big Thicket is known as the "biological crossroads of North America."
- It is part of the United Nations International Biosphere Reserves.
- There are 10 distinct ecosystems in the preserve.
- Big Thicket is home to four of the five carnivorous plants found in North 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 to a variety of unique plants and animals. Four of the five carnivorous plants in North America can be found here, as can more than 20 types of orchids.
In addition to rare plants, nearly 186 species of birds live in or migrate through the preserve, including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and swallow-tailed kite. Several species of snakes, including the Louisiana pine snake, and even a small population of alligators also can be found at Big Thicket.
Established by Congress in 1974, Big Thicket was the first preserve in the National Park System. It is also listed as one of the United Nations International Biosphere Reserves.
The Fund’s Efforts
We have helped preserve nearly 33,000 acres at Big Thicket National Preserve. In 2010, we helped the National Park Service purchase more than 4,000 acres of former Hancock Timber land. These purchases added more than 800 acres to the Canyonlands Unit of the preserve and more than 3,600 acres along Village Creek.
The addition of 3,600 acres along Village Creek establishes a continuous conservation corridor 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. Back in 2009, we helped Texas Parks and Wildlife add 1,500 acres to Village Creek State Park, which is located next to Big Thicket National Preserve’s Village Creek and Neches River Corridor units.
We are also proud to have made the largest donation in Big Thicket National Preserve’s history when, with our partners, we donated 6,600 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and cypress-tupelo swamp to the National Park Service in 2009.
Our work in Big Thicket is ongoing. Currently we run an ecotourism and economic development program for the region called the Pineywoods Experience and established Texas’ largest wetlands mitigation bank, the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank.