During this year’s National Park Week, April 18-26, the National Park Service at Big Thicket National Preserve invites the public to find their national parks across the country, and those here locally in southeast Texas.

The national park system has been described as “America’s best idea”. National parks preserve majestic natural wonders. They keep watch over valued sites and artifacts of our American culture. National park sites offer recreational opportunities and insight into some of the most unique areas of our country’s landscape.

“We encourage everyone to explore the Big Thicket, hike the over 40 miles of trails, kayak one of the major waterways or spend a little time away from the noise of the modern world.” stated Acting Superintendent Edward Comeau. “Whether you are searching for recreation, immersion into the natural world or intellectual stimulation, our parks offers many unique experiences.”

On Saturday, April 18, as a kick-off to National Park Week, the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve will be offering two programs designed to reintroduce our neighbors to the preserve.

“Pitcher Plants and Pines” 10 am. Towering pines and carnivorous plants grow side by side on the Sundew Trail. Learn about these plants and more on this 1-mile ranger-led hike. Meet at the Sundew Trailhead on CR 1910, about 8 miles north of the visitor center. Bring water and good walking shoes.

“History and Mission of the National Park Service” 2:00 pm. How much do you know about the different units of the National Park System? Test your knowledge at this fun, educational program. Meet at the Big Thicket National Preserve visitor center. This program is approximately 45 minutes.

Big Thicket National Preserve is in southeast Texas just north of Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 112,000 acres scattered across a 3,500-square-mile area. 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.

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Photo – Pitcher Plants and Pines –  Towering pines and carnivorous plants grow side by side on the Sundew Trail. Learn about these plants and more on this 1-mile ranger-led hike. Meet at the Sundew Trailhead on CR 1910, about 8 miles north of the visitor center. Bring water and good walking shoes.