August 28, 2015
Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center, 409-951-6700
August 25th, 2015, marks the 99th birthday of the National Park Service and the kick-off of a year-long celebration of the NPS Centennial. During the next twelve months, the National Park Service staff at Big Thicket National Preserve would like to invite you to rediscover your national parks. In conjunction with a year-long photo contest, volunteer recruitment effort, and Longleaf Pine restoration project, we invite visitors and local residents alike to explore the over 112,000 acres of Big Thicket National Preserve.
Today we launch the “Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club.” The Centennial Club recognizes individuals and their commitment to outdoor recreation within the preserve. This program challenges visitors to travel 100/50/25 miles, depending on age groups, through the preserve during our Centennial year (August, 2015 through August, 2016). Participants can paddle, hike, run, jog, travel on horseback, and even trek off-trail through the thicket. As you explore, you track your mileage and once you reach the targeted miles, contact preserve staff so we can welcome you to the club.
There are over 40 miles of hiking trails in the preserve that are available year-round for exploration. Through the centennial year, park rangers will be offering special guided programs and events in an effort to provide new opportunities to explore the preserve, along with a Centennial Club Guidebook which highlights a number of lesser known adventures in the preserve. We encourage everyone to be safe when exploring the thicket. Be prepared with water, a first aid kit, communication and other safety gear. Know the weather prediction and let someone else know where you are going. More information about the “Explore Your Thicket, Centennial Club” is available on our website at www.nps.gov/bith.
Big Thicket National Preserve is located in southeast Texas, near the city Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 112,000 acres. The Big Thicket, often referred to as a “biological crossroads,” is a transition zone between four distinct vegetation types – the moist eastern hardwood forest, the southwestern desert, the southeastern swamp, and the central prairies. Species from all of these different vegetation types come together in the thicket, exhibiting a variety of vegetation and wildlife that has received national interest.
For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/BigThicketNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/BigThicketNPS, and Instagram www.instagram.com/BigThicketNPS.
The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial in 2016 and is using this opportunity to invite a new generation of Americans, and those who already know and love the parks, to discover what national parks and other public lands mean to them through the Find Your Park campaign. To learn more or get involved, visit FindYourPark.com.