Cypress and other trees are reflected in a Cypress swamp on Teel Road in the Lance Rosier Unit.
Kathy Carrell and her husband Mike Carrell from Caddo Mills, Texas holds a sign in protest of the Northeast Gateway toll road at Hunt County Commissioners Court, Auxiliary Courtroom in Greenville, Texas October 14, 2014.
The Big Thicket is unique in it's diversity and was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1981. Wildly different types of vegetation can coexist mere inches apart in this heavily forested region, which contains 10 distinct ecosystems. Your comments are subject to our Terms of Service and the privacy policy and terms of service of your social network. Cindy Burkett, R-Garland, would strip the private toll company of its ability to use eminent domain. Orchids hobnob with towering longleaf pines; palmetto trees mingle with swamp-loving cypress. If you do not want to comment with a social network, please consider writing a letter to the editor.
It would also stop the state transportation commission from allowing the construction of private toll roads that connect to state highways.The other bill, by Rep. Ferns are neighbors to prickly pear cacti.The Big Thicket is a fraction of what it once was, but pieces are still hanging on, thanks to people like Geraldine Watson, who helped create the Big Thicket National Preserve, and then established a preserve of her own.

Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, would focus just on eliminating the toll company’s eminent domain powers.“The eminent domain process should begin and end with officials who are directly accountable to the voters, not to corporate shareholders,” Burkett said. The Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve is named for her husband, Earl, who stood by her when her conservation activism made her an outcast.The natural wonders of the Big Thicket entranced Watson from the time she was a little girl.
Watson, along with naturalist Lance Rosier and other conservationists, began working to protect what eventually became the Big Thicket National Preserve, the nation’s first national preserve.
In 1991, lawmakers repealed a law that had allowed for such private toll companies, but Texas Turnpike Corp. The fight for preservation was long and heated, and Watson was at the center of it.“She was the mouthpiece,” Big Thicket park ranger Paula Rivers said. The North Texas Tollway Authority, for instance, is a public entity with a board of directors that’s appointed by the governor and the four counties that NTTA serves.Texas Turnpike Corp.
Lumber companies pushed back, telling people they would lose their homes if the preserve were established. But Burkett essentially questioned the need for the company.When she asked Crew how many projects Texas Turnpike Corp. She cataloged the plants, delineated the vegetation zones, and laid out the 35 miles of hiking paths, which are mostly flat, easy walks passing through all the various ecosystems. One trail is particularly good for birding, while another goes through stands of pitcher plants, one of the four carnivorous plants found on the preserve.Watson eventually left the National Park Service, frustrated by its lack of funding and some of its conservation practices.

One day, while birding by a lake near the town of Warren, she spotted a piece of land she knew right away she wanted to live on. She bought that parcel and adjacent ones as she could, built a home there and created the Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve, a refuge for the land’s many species of plants.“I don’t want people to think this is just a wildflower garden, that I go out and collect wildflowers everywhere and bring them here and plant them,” she said. The sundew also grows close to the ground, a little rosette of pink spoon-shaped leaves studded with mucilaginous glands that look, quite frankly, carnivorous.The giant pitcher plant is easiest to spot, standing like a little samovar with its lid up.
A sweet-scented nectar invites insects in, and “they slide down into a pool of digestive fluid,” park ranger Paula Rivers explains. Because it can get nutrients from the insects it eats, the pitcher plant can tolerate terrible soil, from tight clay to soggy mud.Sophia DemblingWhen you goThe Big Thicket National Preserve is near Kountze, about 30 miles from Beaumont.
Entry is free, but permits (also free) are required for backpacking, overnight river use and hunting.

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