It's Prime Season For A Visit To Big Thicket National Preserve

Any park in the country has certain times of the year when a visit is especially enjoyable, and for Big Thicket National Preserve, a prime season for outdoor activities is upon us. Compared to more northerly climes, spring comes early to southeast Texas, and March and early April can offer a fine time hiking and boating in an area that's not your typical national park.
Facing Extinction: The world Is there a living Ivory-billed Woodpecker anywhere? There hasn't been a well-documented sighting since 1987, yet it still hasn't officially been declared extinct, giving hope to countless birders that they might yet spot this large, striking bird.

Birding In The National Parks: Following Woodpeckers In The National Parks

It’s not much of a secret among my birding companions that I am quite fond of woodpeckers. From their unique physiology allowing them to safely bang their head into wood for hours on end to the common theme of stark black, white, and red coloration, woodpeckers are fantastic birds.

Congressman Would Open More National Parks To Drilling

There are some units of the National Park System that allow oil and gas drilling, but very few. And that's wrong, believes a congressman from Texas.
Swamper: Letters from a Louisiana Swamp Rabbit What better way to explore nature than through the eyes of one of its residents? That's what Amy Griffin Ouchley thought when she sat down to write Swamper, Letters From A Louisiana Swamp Rabbit.

More Than 900 Species New To Science Found In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Stand in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you can't help but be enthralled by the lush forests and rolling mountains that surround you. Though a somewhat old landscape to modern civilization, the park continues to toss surprises in terms of the species that inhabit it.

Teachers Become the Students At National Parks

When one thinks of national parks, visions of natural scenery at places such as Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful at Yellowstone, and El Capitan at Yosemite come to mind. Perhaps the furthest thing from a person’s mind is a vision of a classroom; but the fact is that national parks and historic sites are a perfect environment for visitors of all ages to learn

Lost - and Eventually Found - in the Big Thicket National Preserve

The names of most areas in the National Park System are usually pretty descriptive of the main features of the site, and that's the case for the Big Thicket National Preserve. The woods and swamps are "big" and in places the vegetation is thick indeed. As more than one hunter has discovered, it's also an easy place to get lost.
Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds Christopher Cokinos, an award-winning writer, poet, and English professor at Utah State University, has gathered up six long-lost bird species and taken a longing look at them from the perspective of personal loss for their absence in the skies above our heads.

Reader Participation Day: Where in The National Parks Do You Head To Bird, and What Birds Do You Hope To See?

Birding is one of the many popular activities in the National Park System, and by carrying your binoculars and perhaps a field guide to help you identify what you see, you quickly can expand your "life list" during a park visit. If you're a birder, where in the system do you go, and what are you looking for?

Longleaf Pines Making a Comeback at Big Thicket National Preserve

The Big Thicket National Preserve is often called a "Biological Crossroads of North America," and a key component of the Thicket is the longleaf pine. Many of those trees were lost to logging and other human activity prior to the park's establishment, but a recent volunteer effort is helping in a comeback by the trees.

National Park Mystery Plant 14 Revealed: It's the Devil's Walking Stick

The Aralia spinosa acquired its devilish name for good reason

Easy Park Hikes – Big Thicket National Preserve

The Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas has been called the "Biological Crossroads of North America," and some easy hikes in the park offer plenty of interesting sights. Just watch your step—it's a place where carnivorous plants catch their own lunch

National Park Mystery Plant 12 Revealed

It helped to know your Mediterranean islands.

National Park Mystery Plant 11 Revealed

Did you get this one right? The first clue might very well have been the only one you needed.

Big Thicket National Preserve Grows By 3,600 Acres Thanks To The Conservation Fund

It's time to get a new map for Big Thicket National Preserve, which recently grew by 3,700 acres thanks to the work of The Conservation Fund.

Congressmen Honored For Work In Behalf of Public Parks and Recreation

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives is being honored for the work on behalf of the nation's parks by the National Recreation and Park Association.

National Park Service Revising Regulations To Better Manage Oil And Gas Exploration in Parks

Call it long overdue housekeeping, but the National Park Service is working to revise 30-year-old regulations that affect non-federal oil and gas development that could occur, or already is occurring, in some of its units. In other words, energy development within a park on lands owned by anyone other than the federal government, such as states or even private landowners. The bottom-line of the revisions is to better protect parks from energy development.

Taxpayers Get a Nice Present on April 15th

Big cypress tree in the Big Thicket.
Most taxpayers don't associate April 15th with good news, but national park supporters received a nice present on "Tax Day 2009," thanks to a major donation from the Conservation Fund at the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Now “Thirtysomething,” Big Thicket National Preserve Has Matured Nicely

On October 11, 1974, Congress grafted a new and controversial branch onto the National Park System family tree by creating the first two National Preserves – Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas and Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. Big Thicket, like its Florida cousin, is now a nicely maturing “thirtysomething” park with a lot of visitor appeal.

Upon Further Review – A Rare Photo Op

National parks are great places to take photos, and there are some opportunities for unusual images at the Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas. But even after working there as a ranger for several years I was surprised one afternoon to witness the reported sighting of a large mammal not previously known to inhabit the area.

At Big Thicket National Preserve, a Combative Drug Dealer Changes His Mind When Ranger Stafford Shows Him His Taser

At Big Thicket National Park, a man involved in a drug transaction started to resist arrest. He abruptly changed his mind when ranger Johnny Stafford drew his Taser and displayed the spark. Did the miscreant holler “Don’t taze me, bro!”?

Congressman Introduces Legislation To Double The Size of Big Thicket National Preserve

Big Thicket National Preserve, a rich crucible of biodiversity, would double in size under legislation introduced by a congressman from Texas.

Biodiversity Studies in the Parks Reveal Previously Unknown Species

New Moth Species at Great Smoky Mountains National Park; NPS Photo.
Imagine taking the time to go into your backyard, or the nearby woods, or even a pond close to your home, to catalog all the life you found in it. Not just the deer or snakes or fish, but the birds and insects, reptiles, plants and fungi and everything else biological or botanic. Imagine how fascinating that would be. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park they've been working on just that, and what they've found has been incredible.