Spanning seven counties and nine ecosystems, not far from the Texas-Louisiana border, Big Thicket National Preserve weaves together internationally renowned biological diversity with the rich history of many generations of people who have relied on this land for safety and survival.
Early European settlers referred to the area as “the Big Thicket” because of its lush, dense forest and canopies. But the region had been utilized for thousands of years prior by the Atakapa-Ishak, and later the Alabama-Coushatta people, who migrated westward in the late 1700’s and established this area as their homeland.
Protecting over 100,000 acres of wilderness, this region teems with a delicate tapestry of wildlife and has been called “The Biological Crossroads of America.” But increased extreme weather, and development are harming the Big Thicket and adjacent Southeast Texas communities – displacing wildlife, impacting park facilities and community infrastructure as well as changing the historical landscape.
NPCA is working to protect the parks from these impacts by restoring important native habitat and connect the landscape to ensure a resilient economic and sustainable future for Big Thicket and the southeast Texas region. We are doing this work in multiple ways including restoring the native longleaf pine ecosystem, recovering the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, strategic conservation and acquisition of lands to mitigate flooding risks and adapt to impacts of a changing climate, and enhancing recreational resources as a growing economic asset for local communities.
This area had its own very special qualities, but that you have to refocus your vision a little. It’s not a matter of geysers or mountains or waterfalls or anything like that. It’s a matter of looking at what you have and determining what’s interesting about this.
The endangered Red Cockaded Woodpeckers (RCW) have not been seen in the Big Thicket National Preserve since the early 1990s. NPCA is actively working with the Preserve and regional scientists to bring back important components of the bird’s habitat to the park, with a plan to reintroduce this keystone species. RCWs are a ‘keystone’ species because use of the tree cavities created by these animals contributes to the species’ richness of the pine forest. A recent survey for suitable habitat for the RCW indicated this reintroduction effort could be accomplished sooner than expected. With the support of park advocates and enhanced habitat management and coordination with conservation partners, the Big Thicket can be a thriving home for these threatened species.
More about Big Thicket
Read more about Big Thicket National Preserve
Fact Sheet Big Thicket National Preserve A Biological Crossroads of the Southeast
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Report A Legacy Threatened NPCA's photo book shows the damage to parks caused by the 2017 hurricanes.
Read more about NPCA Find Your Voice: Big Thicket
Video NPCA Find Your Voice: Big Thicket National Parks belong to you. See how a group of young advocates in Texas learned how to explore, protect, and advocate for their park as a part of the National Parks Conservation Association’s Find Your Voice initiative.
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Read more about Center for State of the Parks: Big Thicket National Preserve
Report Center for State of the Parks: Big Thicket National Preserve Current overall conditions of Big Thicket’s known natural resources rated a “fair” score of 69 out of 100. Overall conditions of the park’s known cultural resources rated 42 out of a possible 100, indicating “poor” conditions.