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Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Big Thicket National Preserve

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published July 2005


View Full Report
(PDF, 2MB, 28 pages)

The 97,000-acre Big Thicket National Preserve—consisting of 15 small units scattered across seven Texas counties—was created in 1974 to protect the precious remnants of a vast and unique landscape of incredible biological diversity that once covered more than 3.5 million acres of East Texas. The preserve's unique natural features and amazing wildlife have earned it designation as an International Biosphere Reserve and Globally Important Bird Area. Archaeological resources, logging mills, oil wells, and homesteads tell the stories of 8,000 years of human history.

But, NPCA's State of the Parks assessment of Big Thicket National Preserve reveals that these resources are threatened by development. Over the past few years, more than 2 million acres of timber-company land surrounding the preserve have been put up for sale. NPCA's report reveals that ad hoc commercial, industrial, and residential development of this land enables non-native and invasive plants and feral animals to invade the preserve; subjects the preserve's delicate ecosystem to pesticides and fertilizers; interferes with fire management; and cuts off wildlife migration routes.

Furthermore, the report also calls attention to the potentially damaging proposals to construct Fastrill Reservoir and Rockland Dam on the Neches River, which are part of regional plans that the State of Texas is developing to address water needs throughout the state. Since the river runs for 85 miles through Big Thicket, this kind of urban development could be devastating for wildlife and would compromise the experiences of visitors, as wildlife watching and hunting opportunities would be negatively affected.

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