Ecosystems collide in East Texas
Village Creek State Park outside of Lumberton showcases the beauty and diversity of the Big Thicket. With eight miles of hiking and biking trails and two miles of creek frontage, the park offers easy access to the unique biology west of the Sabine River.
Often called the "biological crossroads" of America, the Big Thicket once covered more than 3.5 million acres of East Texas. Ten distinct ecosystems collide here in a tangle of forest, rivers, swamps, and sand hills.
Logging severely reduced the Big Thicket, which became a national preserve in 1974 and a UNESCO World Biosphere in 1981. Today, the National Park Service manages 15 scattered units in seven counties, covering 105,684 acres of the Big Thicket. The preserve contains more than 100 species of trees, 300 species of birds, 20 kinds of orchids, and four types of carnivorous plants.
Village Creek State Park opened in 1994 and is a 1,090-acre sliver of the Big Thicket, but it's room enough to roam. Served by several canoe outfitters, the 69-mile Village Creek is one of the last free-flowing streams and one of the best canoeing trips in East Texas. About 10 miles north of Beaumont, the park is in an area of the state that hasn't yet been scorched by drought. There are eight cabins, 41 campsites, and swimming on multiple sandbars within its boundaries. For more information, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us, or call 409/755-7322.
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