Frequently Asked Questions

Q – Why is Big Thicket called a National Preserve not a National Park?
A – Most national parks do not allow consumptive use of the resources, such as hunting, trapping, timber harvesting, and mineral extraction. All of these activities are allowed in the preserve by permit.

Q – Where can I find the pitcher plants and sundews?
A – Both of these carnivorous plants are found on our Sundew and Pitcher Plant trails. The sundew plants are extremely small and difficult to see unless they are blooming.

Q – What’s the charge for entering the preserve, hiking a trail, or going backcountry camping?
A – There is no charge for any activity in the preserve, including hunting and fishing.

Q – Where is the best place to go birding?
A – We have a list of Birding Hot Spots available at the visitor center or by mail. Any trail with a mix of habitats tends to offer good birding opportunities. The Sundew Trail has a mix of habitats and is more open than most other trails, so birds are easier to see here.

Q – What about camping?
A – There are no campgrounds in the preserve. A list of nearby campgrounds is available at the visitor center or by mail. Backcountry (minimum impact camping) is allowed in some units of Big Thicket National Preserve. A free permit is available at the visitor center.

Q – What’s a baygall?
A – A baygall forms when water collects in the bottom of a poorly drained depression. Debris from surrounding vegetation steeps into the water, causing the water to lose oxygen and become highly acidic, like vinegar. Baygalls are named for the woody plants of sweetbay and gallberry holly.

Q – Why does a cypress tree have knees?
A – Upright growths called “knees” rise from cypress roots and serve an unknown purpose for the tree. Some theories suggest they help the trees take in air or balance its tremendous weight in the wet soil. What’s your theory?

Q – Will I see a snake?
A – You might see a snake if the conditions are right. Reptiles often warm themselves in the sun. Stay on the trail so that you will have a clear view of where you are stepping. Most of the snakes you may see are non-venomous; only a few species are dangerous. Remember that all snakes, venomous or not, are protected in the Preserve and that it is illegal to kill them.

Q - Are there bears here?

A - A few lone bears have wandered into east Texas from Louisiana, but there are no established populations of black bears here. The chance of seeing a black bear in the Big Thicket region is extremely small. Historically, however, black bears were common in this area.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6044 FM 420
Kountze, TX 77625


(409) 951-6800

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