April 15, 2000 - Martin Dies, Jr. State Park

Martin Dies, Jr.

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is a 705-acre recreational area in Jasper and Tyler Counties between Woodville and Jasper on B. A. Steinhagen Reservoir (15,000 acres). Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, mountain biking and wildlife and bird watching. Canoe trips down the Angelina or Neches River are taken on the third Saturday of each month. Call the park at least one week in advance to make reservations. Locatedd at the edge of the Big Thicket National Preserve, the park is in the heavily-forested area known as the "East Texas Pineywoods." The park has numerous creeks, known as sloughs, and cypress, willow, beech, magnolia and sweet bay are common. Hiking trails provide excellent opportunities to view wildlife, including woodland warblers, woodpeckers, bluebirds, herons, wood ducks, cranes, and alligators, as the park is adjacent to Angelina-Neches-Dam B Wildlife Management Area. For reservations, call 512/389-8900. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.

Click on thumbnails for larger view:
Preparing for early morning bus ride to put-in at Bevilport.

Debra poses with bus driver while we unload canoes.

We are finally underway.

The Angelina River was 100 yards wide at this point after heavy rains from the previous week.

First rest break after 1 1/2 hours of beautiful river scenes and paddling.

There are 20 people on each trip. They came from all over the state. One couple was from South Dakota, four guys from Europe.

We are leaving one of the "shortcuts" on the river. A couple of young guys from France swamped their canoe before this. Luckily, we were not in a wide swampy area of the river.

The "poser" at the campsite. This park has really widely-spaced campsites - some with "river frontage". We loved it!

Big Thicket National Preserve consists of nine separate land units and four water corridors, and encompasses 86,000 acres. It was established in 1974 to protect the area of rich biological diversity where the eastern hardwood forests, the southern coastal wetlands, the western prairies and the arid southwest converge. We hiked the two trails in the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit. Pitcher Plant Trail: Found on the northeast side of the Turkey Creek Trail, this short trail leads you through a mixed pine forest to the edge of a wetland savannah. Here you will find one of the four species of carnivorous plants - the pitcher plant . Sundew Trail: This trail is on the eastern edge of the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit. There are two loops: the outer loop is 1.6 miles and the inner loop is .8 miles. Known as a premier area for wildflowers from late spring through summer, you can see pitcher plant and sundew - both carnivorous.

Entrance to one unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve.

A really nice short little hike, we were searching for the carnivorous Pitcher Plants.

Four of the five carnivorous plants in the US are found in the Big Thicket. They occur in the wetland savannah because of the low mineral content of the soil.

The carnivorous plants supplement their diet with nitrogen from the insects they capture. Pitcher plants have long, narrow funnel-shaped leaves dotted with nectar glands which attract insects to the opening.

Once inside, the insects are prevented from escaping by long downward-pointing hairs. They are dissolved and absorbed into the plant.

One last stop before heading home.

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