|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Big Thicket preserve gets 3,600 acres bigger
Polk County Enterprise - March 2009
BEAUMONT — One of the most diverse landscapes in America gained further protection Wednesday with The Conservation Fund’s purchase of 3,600 acres in Hardin, Tyler and Polk counties from the Hancock Timber Resource Group. The land eventually will become part of Big Thicket National Preserve. Packed with an impressive amount of wildlife and plant species, the dense wilderness of the Big Thicket region in southeast Texas consists of important river corridors, productive wetlands, tall forests, open plains, pine savannas and dry sandhills. Big Thicket National Preserve—the nation’s fi rst national preserve—protects the heart of the region and provides visitors with opportunities for backpacking, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking and wildlife viewing. The Conservation Fund has been working to expand Big Thicket National Preserve, permanently protecting the region’s rich natural legacy. The purchase from Hancock Timber establishes a continuous conservation corridor along Village Creek that provides habitat for migratory waterfowl and song birds and serves as a fl oodplain that would benefi t the communities along Village Creek and the Neches River. “Working with partners like Hancock Timber allows us to rebuild the Big Thicket legacy so that future generations can enjoy this unique and historic part of east Texas,” said Andy Jones, director of The Conservation Fund’s Texas offi ce. “We appreciate Hancock Timber’s ongoing collaboration and willingness to help us achieve that goal.” “The Hancock Timber Resource Group and The Conservation Fund have a long history of working together to protect environmentally sensitive land,” said Mike Wolf, director of North American Forest Operations, Hancock Timber Resource Group. “We are very pleased to be able to work with The Conservation Fund once again to protect land in the Village Creek watershed.” “The Conservation Fund has played a major role in protecting Village Creek as a key environmental and recreational resource within the Big Thicket,” said Bruce Drury, president of Big Thicket Association. “We are proud to support their efforts and look forward to a continued partnership.” Through its Sensitive Lands Program, the Hancock Timber Resource Group has helped preserve and protect nearly 400,000 acres of environmentally sensitive lands across the United States. The Conservation Fund has helped preserve nearly 137,000 acres in Texas, including 32,000 acres at Big Thicket National Preserve. In addition, the Fund launched an ecotourism and economic development program for the region called the Pineywoods Experience (TexasPineywoodsExp erience.org) and established Texas’ largest wetlands mitigation bank, the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank See OISD, Page 6A (PineywoodsBank.com).