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, and mineral extraction. These activities are allowed in the preserve by permit.
Q – Where can I find carnivorous plants?
A – You can find the most common carnivorous plants, pitcher plants and sundews, on the Sundew Trail and Pitcher Plant Trail most of the year. Sundew plants are small and may be difficult to see at first, but they often carpet the ground in large patches in the right areas.
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 – 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. Birds that prefer dense thicket environments are more likely to be found on the Kirby Nature Trail.
Q – What about camping?
A – There are no developed campgrounds or designated backcountry campsites in the preserve. Backcountry camping is allowed in some units of Big Thicket National Preserve. A free permit is required and 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 more acidic. Baygalls are named for the woody plants of sweetbay and gallberry holly, commonly found around these areas.
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 with gas exchange or balance its tremendous weight in the wet soil. What’s your theory?
Q – Do I have to worry about snakes or other dangerous predators?
A – Snakes and other predators generally stay away from humans. 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.
You are at far greater risk of getting a disease from a tick or mosquito than of being attacked by a predator. Wear insect repellent and check carefully for ticks.
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.