The Big Thicket – lands richly diverse in biological resources – contain some of the greatest diversity in North America. Often referred to as a "biological crossroads," Big Thicket National Preserve is a dynamic transition zone where southeastern swamps, eastern deciduous forest, central plains, pine savannahs, and dry sandhills meet and intermingle. River and stream corridors wind through and connect the Preserve units, which are located in parts of seven counties. The area provides habitat for rare species and favors unusual combinations of plants and animals. The Neches River is the primary drainage of the Preserve, capturing the majority of water from precipitation and overland flow. Village Creek, centrally located in the Preserve, offers some of the best canoeing and flatwater kayaking in Texas. Variations in geology, climate, soils, elevation, and drainage have resulted in a rich biological diversity, which is truly at the heart of the Preserve’s significance. Big Thicket National Preserve was established on October 11, 1974 to ensure the preservation, conservation, and protection of a portion of this once great forest complex. The area has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Program, underscoring the importance of this ecosystem. The American Bird Conservancy also recognized the Preserve on July 26, 2001 as a Globally Important Bird Area. The Preserve consists of nine interconnected land units and six water corridors encompassing over 105,000 acres. The Preserve offers some unique opportunities and challenges to Park Service land managers, including non-federal oil and gas management, hunting and trapping, fire management, restoration, and an All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI). Please go to http://www.nps.gov/bith to learn more about the resources of Big Thicket National Preserve.