The terrain of Big Thicket National Preserve is pretty much unremarkable with none of the impressive scenic views that can be found in many other National Park units. It is located on the relatively flat coastal plain of Texas which is crossed by larger rivers and numerous small streams. What the Preserve lacks in geological wonders however, is made up for by the biodiversity contained within and that can all be reached in a day’s drive around the Preserve. There are few places on earth where you can see roadrunners darting between longleaf pines and cactus and then walk ten minutes to look at a beech-magnolia-pine forest mix within a lower slope hardwood pine forest. On any given day you can take a boat ride that immerses you in the wonders of a swamp cypress tupelo forest with its Spanish moss and alligator habitat and then drive a half hour to see a pitcher plant bog or a longleaf upland pine forest that hopes to attract red-cockaded woodpeckers back to the Big Thicket.
The extent of the area known as the ‘Big Thicket’ was once much larger than today covering more than 2 million acres in southeast Texas. The State of Texas currently includes the lands of the Preserve in two ecoregions – the Piney Woods ecoregion and the Gulf Coast Prairies & Marshes ecoregion. Ecoregions are larger-scale areas where soils and landforms create similar plant communities. The two above ecoregion names give a good indication of what large-scale plant communities you would expect to find. The names of the scattered units of the Preserve can also be a good guide on what plant communities and associated wildlife may be seen including: Big Sandy Creek, Loblolly, Hickory Creek Savannah, Little Pine Island Bayou, Jack Gore Baygall, Upper & Lower Neches River, Beech Creek, and even a “Canyonlands” Unit can all be visited. You are invited and welcomed to come and see the wonders of this national treasure.