June 4, 2015
Contact: Jason Ginder
Today Wayne Prokopetz, Superintendent of Big Thicket National Preserve, updated the status of all hiking trails in the preserve. “Thanks to the hard work of park staff, specifically our facility and maintenance crews, we are happy to report that the majority of hiking trails in the preserve are again safe to explore.” stated Prokopetz.
On May 26, 2015, the preserve issued a warning stating that due to significant storm activity and record- setting rains in the region, many of the hiking trails and paddling trails throughout the preserve were completely inaccessible. As of the morning of June 4th, the status of the hiking trails continue to be muddy with occasional pockets of standing water; however, the following trails are again open to visitors: the Woodlands Trail, the Big Sandy Trail, the Beaver Slide Trail, the Pitcher Plant Trail, the Kirby Nature Trail, the inner loop of the Sundew Trail, and portions of the Turkey Creek Trail.
Due to two active repair and rehab projects, the Beech Woods and Sundew trails will remain closed until work is completed. Foot bridges are being replaced on the Beech Woods Trail and along the outer loop of the Sundew Trail, which currently restricts visitors’ access until those projects are complete. Visit our website at www.nps.gov/bith and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BigThicketNPS for updates on these trails in the coming weeks and months.
Visitors are reminded to exercise increased caution on and around the waterways throughout this region. Due to high water levels and increased water flow from surrounding water control facilities, the paddling trails and boats launches throughout the preserve may be unsafe. We urge the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and encourage boaters to be honest with themselves about their paddling skills and comfort level on these extremely active waterways.
Big Thicket National Preserve is in southeast Texas just north of Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 112,000 acres scattered across a 3,500-square-mile area. 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.
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 www.FindYourPark.com.