Big Thicket National Preserve
Big Thicket National Preserve is hosting a celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday at the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center on Aug. 25 from noon to 2 p.m. with light refreshments and an opportunity to view a new PBS film on the national parks of Texas.
This centennial year has been very important for the National Park Service’s mission of preserving our shared national lands and spreading awareness of the National Park System. Big Thicket National Preserve has been running several ongoing projects during this year including the planting of 100,000 long leaf pine trees, a social media photo contest, volunteer cleanup efforts, and a special participation patch for visitor who hike, bike, or paddle 100 miles in the preserve. Other parks in the National Park Service system have also undertaken large-scale projects in an effort to recognize this monumental milestone. Learn more about how you can get involved in this this year-long celebration online at www.nps.gov/bith/getinvolved/2016.htm.
In particular, this event on Aug. 25 represents the culmination of much of that effort on the actual anniversary the creation of the National Park Service. Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz will offer some brief thoughts on the value of the National Park Service before officiating over a ceremonial cutting of the cake.
The film “National Parks of Texas: In Contact with Beauty,” a joint project between the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will be shown in the theater. The documentary includes footage of all the national park sites in Texas and prominently features Big Thicket. The park ranger who was interviewed for the film will be in attendance and be available to answer questions.
This Centennial Celebration event is free and open to the public. The Big Thicket Visitor Center is at 6102 FM 420, Kountze, TX 77625. For more information, contact park staff at (409) 951-6700
Hunting permit registration opens Sept. 1
Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz announced July 26 that the preserve will issue free hunting permits beginning Thursday, Sept. 1. Available 2016-17 permits will be issued until Feb. 28, 2017.
Permits will be issued at the preserve visitor center from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Big Thicket hunting permits allow hunters to take white-tailed deer, squirrel, rabbit, feral hog and waterfowl. The preserve observes the state of Texas hunting seasons from Oct. 1, 2016, until Jan. 1, 2017. Additional feral hogs may also be taken during the extended hog-only season, which runs from Jan. 1, 2017 – Feb. 28, 2017.
• Everyone who hunts in Big Thicket National Preserve must have a Big Thicket hunting permit.
• You must show your current Texas Hunting License to obtain a Big Thicket hunting permit.
• All hunters must apply in person and may hunt in only one unit. Parents or guardians will no longer be able to get permits for their children. All hunters must be present to get a permit.
Be advised that hunters who failed to return their harvest cards for the 2015-16 season will not be eligible to hunt in Big Thicket National Preserve during the 2016-17 hunting season. The deadline for returning hunter harvest cards after the 2016-17 season will be April 3, 2017. There will be no grace period.
The number of permits issued for each hunting unit varies based on the size of the unit and wildlife management goals for that unit. The number of permits issue per unit has not changed from last season. The following numbers of permits, by hunting unit, are available: Beaumont Unit, 200; Beech Creek Unit, 150; Big Sandy Creek Unit, 400; Jack Gore Baygall Unit, 400; Lance Rosier Unit, 900; and Neches Neches Bottom Unit, 150.
Adopt Your Thicket
In August 2015, Big Thicket National Preserve launched the Adopt Your Thicket, Centennial Volunteer Program. Each year over 110,000 visitors explore the trails and day-use areas throughout the Big Thicket. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service, the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve is inviting individuals and community groups to assist in a stewardship effort to take pride in and help maintain certain areas of the preserve by adopting trails, day-use areas, and other access points. Volunteers will be asked to visit their adopted site and complete some basic trash clean-up and minor maintenance tasks.
“This is a great opportunity for community members to help care for their national preserve,” stated Superintendent Prokopetz.
For more information about adopting sites in the preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith/getinvolved/adopt-your-thicket.htm, or contact Jeremy Williams at (409) 951-6703.
About the Big Thicket
Big Thicket National Preserve is in Southeast Texas near 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.
About the National Park Service
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
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.