Forestland along the Neches River. Photo by Jay Brittain.
Did You Know?
- Nationally, 60 million acres of forestland changed hands over the past two decades, including 4 million acres in Texas.
- The 416-mile long Neches River has been a part of eastern Texas’ history and culture for thousands of years, dating back to when Native Americans and early European settlers depended on the river and its forests for food and shelter.
“My great grandfather, T.L.L. Temple, founded Southern Pine Lumber Company and acquired the land known as Boggy Slough on the Neches River in the early 1900s. The family carefully nurtured it until 1969 when Temple Industries became publicly owned. The executives and foresters of Temple Industries, Temple-Eastex and Temple-Inland, Inc. continued to nurture and protect the land as a very special place. International Paper Company built on that tradition when they acquired Temple-Inland in 2012. How fortunate we are that so many generations recognized the value of Boggy Slough and worked to protect it. To all of them, I give my heartfelt thanks."
— Buddy Temple, Chairman, T.L.L. Temple Foundation
For nearly a century, East Texas has drawn upon its natural resources, particularly its magnificent forests, as a source of both jobs and places to enjoy the great outdoors. But this legacy is at risk. In recent years, timber companies have sold millions of acres of prime timberland, threatening this economic base—and significant habitat for wildlife. But this time the story ends differently.
What We’ve Accomplished
In a defining moment for the Pineywoods region, T.L.L. Temple Foundation, International Paper and The Conservation Fund permanently protected more than 19,000 acres of hardwood forest and wetlands in East Texas, known as Boggy Slough at the end of 2013.
It is an idea that was sparked nearly ten years ago, spurred by the Temple family, the Pineywoods community and The Conservation Fund, regarding the critical need to protect the Neches River.
Located west of Lufkin, Boggy Slough contains some of the oldest and most ecologically significant hardwood forest habitat in East Texas and spans 18 miles of river frontage along the Neches River. For decades the area has been managed as a wildlife and forest management research and demonstration area, providing habitat for white-tailed deer and eastern turkey as well as numerous ducks, songbirds and fish.
“There is no land more significant or more important to the future of the Neches River, the wildlife or character of East Texas than Boggy Slough. We are grateful to T.L.L. Temple Foundation for donating the easement to The Conservation Fund and to International Paper for being such an excellent steward of the land” said The Conservation Fund’s CEO, Larry Selzer.
The challenge to protect America’s forests and rivers has never been more urgent. Yet with champions like the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and support from the Temple family, we are well prepared to continue our charge. Already, The Conservation Fund has responded by conserving more than 2,000 acres and 175 river miles of public and private lands along the Neches River.