Big Thicket National Preserve
|Paddling the Neches River in Big Thicket National Preserve (National Park Service)|
Look, listen, and enjoy. With its great diversity of plant and animal life, the Preserve is the ideal outdoor laboratory for nature study. All you need to do is observe. Birding is a favorite activity, especially during spring and fall. From late March to early May hundreds of bird species pass through on their way to northern nesting grounds. Fall migrations occur in October and November.
All programs are by reservation only. Individuals and groups can call 409-246-2337 for information and reservations. Programs include guided hikes, talks, and guided boat tours and canoe trips.
Many Big Thicket photo subjects will be found in deep shade, such as the hundreds of colorful flowers, fungi, and insects. You want a tripod and films rated to give your camera maximum depth field.
Boating and Canoeing
Small watercraft may be launched at locations along the Neches River, Pine Island Bayou, and along Village and Turkey creeks. Choose your waters: broad alluvial river, sluggish bayou, or free-flowing creeks. Water access points have not been developed on the creeks, but you can launch at most road crossings. Some boat ramps located on private property charge a launch fee.
Fishing is allowed in all waters. A Texas fishing license is required and state laws apply. A wide variety of fish are found in the waters of the Big Thicket. The primary species caught are bass, catfish, and white perch (crappie). Opportunities exist for boat fishing in the Neches River, Village Creek, and Pine Island Bayou. There are limited access points to the Preserve waterways. Boat ramps are available at Dam B (Town Bluff Dam), Highway 96 near Evadale, 69 Bridge at Pine Island Bayou, and at the confluence of the Neches River and Pine Island Bayou. Other favorite fishing areas accessible without a boat include Franklin Lake, the pond at the highway beginning of the Woodland Trail, bridges along the southern edge of the Big Sandy Unit, and the bridge at the end of Teel House Road in the Lance Rosier Unit.
Backcountry camping is allowed by permit in certain parts of the Preserve. There are no developed campgrounds. Several private and public campgrounds nearby offer tent and recreational vehicle sites. Call the Preserve for permit information.
There are picnic sites in many of the units. Some sites have barbecue grills; contained charcoal grills (hibachi-type) are also allowed. Open fires and the wood collection are prohibited.
In the Neches River swim in quiet areas, away from strong currents. The Lakeview Sandbar area in the Beaumont Unit is a popular swimming spot. In summer it is designated a no-wake zone for boaters.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed only in specific areas at certain dates and times. A permit from the superintendent is required. Please write or call Preserve Headquarters for details.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication