Near the Texas border with Louisiana sits another beautiful, natural area preserved by the National Park Service call the Big Thicket National Preserve. For many who grew-up in this area, the beauty is a whole way of life.
“I spent my whole life here, going out in creeks and rivers, going canoeing and kayaking with my Dad, camping, hunting, fishing,” said said Park Ranger Max Harper, who grew up near this park. “A lot of times, I didn’t even realize I was in the preserve.”
This park is woven into the communities that surround it, separate sites scatteres across seven East Texas counties. Visitors to this park won’t find long views in these woods and waterways. Instead, the Big Thicket rewards those visitors who slow down and observe the details.
“I always tell people…squat down by the creek and I’ll just get real quiet and sit there and say…”This right here. This is it. This is what’s special about it.”
The love of this land by the people who live closest to the Big Thicket is shared by scientists from all over the world that come to the Big Thicket because of its unique plant species.
Efforts to preserve the Big Thicket began in the 1930s led by advocates who recognized the diversity of the forest here. Many feared that logging would wipe it all away.
“It took forever to get a park established,” said Maxine Johnston, who worked for several decades to convince the park service of this area’s significance.
The park was recently recognized by UNESCO, part of the United Nations. The Big Thicket is among dozens of sites around the world considered an important man and biosphere reserve.
For more information about the Big Thicket National Preserve.