December 12, 2015
Contact: Mary Kay Manning
Start your year off on the right foot with a hike in the Big Thicket. On Saturday, January 2, preserve staff will lead a guided walk on the Kirby Nature Trail and Sandhill Loop Trail. This 4.5-mile hike will explore the diverse ecosystems of the Big Thicket, including mixed hardwood forests, baygalls, cypress sloughs, riparian floodplains, and longleaf pine uplands.
This ranger-led hike will begin at the Kirby Nature Trail Trailhead on FM 420 at 9:30 am. Please come prepared for the weather of the day, in sturdy hiking shoes, with bug spray, drinking water and trail snacks.
This ranger-led hike is part of the preserve’s “Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club” program. During the 12 months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (August 25, 2016), the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve invites you to rediscover your national park. Throughout the year, park rangers will lead programs into areas of the preserve that are “off the beaten path.” The Explore Your Thicket 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, 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, once you reach the targeted miles, contact preserve staff so we can welcome you to the club.
While exploring the preserve we encourage everyone to participate in our “Share Your Thicket” Centennial Photo Contest. Park visitors are invited to submit photos via Instagram for entry into a year-long contest using the hashtag #BigThicketPhotoContest. Monthly winners will be chosen in three categories and displayed in our park visitor center. An overall winner will be chosen in the fall of 2016 and displayed in the visitor center.
More information about the Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club and the Share Your Thicket Centennial Photo Contest are available on the preserve’s website at https://www.nps.gov/bith/getinvolved/centennial-activities.htm.
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.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.