Big Thicket National Preserve
The Big Thicket National Preserve is a heavily forested area in Southeast Texas, USA. It has historically been the most densely forested region in what is now Texas, though logging in the 19th and 20th centuries dramatically reduced the forest concentration. The Big Thicket has been described as one of the most biodiverse areas in the world outside of the tropics. The Big Thicket National Preserve was established in 1974 in an attempt to protect the many plant and animal species within.
The Big Thicket National Preserve, along with Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, became the first national preserves in the United States National Park System when both were authorized by the United States Congress on October 11, 1974. Senator Ralph Yarborough was its most powerful proponent in Congress. The bill that established the 84,550-acre preserve was proposed by Representatives Charlie Wilson and Bob Eckhardt. The Big Thicket was also designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1981.
There are no entrance fees or user fees in Big Thicket National Preserve.
The Big Thicket offers many miles of hiking trails, with interpretive signage to inform the visitor about the diverse flora and fauna to be found in this area. Additionally, The Big Thicket Association, a non-profit organization instrumental in the creation of the Big Thicket National Preserve, operates an education boat for both public and private nature interpretive tours on the Neches River, called Neches River Adventures.