Day Trips: Sundew Trail in the Big Thicket, Kountze
Take a walk in one of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world
The Sundew Trail in the Big Thicket a few miles north of Kountze is a short walk on a long history.
At just over a mile long, the easy walking trail offers an excellent introduction to one of the most beautiful and biodiverse sections of the state. The path meanders through meadows of yellow and white wildflowers and under the thick canopy of towering longleaf pines. Boardwalks bridge waterlogged bogs punctuated with carnivorous plants.
Native Americans called the damp forest in the southeast corner of the state the "Big Woods." As settlers began moving into the area they called it the Big Thicket and used the trees to feed the voracious appetites of sawmills.
In the early days of statehood, the Big Thicket covered more than 3.5 million acres. A century later only 3% of the unspoiled land remained. In 1974, a 47-year argument between timber companies and conservationists was quieted with the creation of the Big Thicket National Preserve.
The Big Thicket preserve protects 108,208 acres in 15 separate units scattered across seven counties. The terrain gently drops from upland pine forests to the wetlands near the coast. The patchwork remnants of the protected parcels harbors a diversity of plants and animals, and offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. For information go to www.nps.gov/bith. When you're in the area north of Beaumont, visit the small museum at the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center on U.S. 69/287, eight miles north of Kountze.
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