BTA christens Ivory Bill at Riverfront Park

The Ivory Bill

Jan Ruppel, Big Thicket Association president, has announced that the Big Thicket Association (BTA) christened the Ivory Bill at Riverfront Park on Thursday, April 24, during a Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. Attendees had the opportunity to board the Ivory Bill and learn about the eco-tours and outdoor environmental education programs that the BTA now offers on the Neches River and in the Big Thicket National Preserve.

The Ivory Bill is a 45-foot Coast Guard approved pontoon boat. The touring boat’s amenities include a covered open-air deck, comfortable perimeter seating for 30 people, on-board restroom, and public address system. The tours include a Coast Guard certified captain, one first mate, and one BTA or National Parks facilitator

The Big Thicket Association has secured sponsors for the outdoor environmental education program. Its major donors include LNVA, Port of Beaumont and TOTAL Petrochemicals. YMBL, BASF, and MeadWestvaco have also pledged financial support. These sponsorships will help curtail the boat’s operational cost and will give the BTA the ability to offer our environmental education classes free of charge to area schools. Also, the Beaumont Convention Visitors Bureau has been instrumental in promoting the tours and is a participating sponsor.

This year, The Big Thicket Association is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The BTA will host and co-host a number of events to celebrate.

For more information, visit or call (409) 651-5326.