Iconic Big Thicket Landscapes Protected for All Residents
The Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust recently deeded 8 acres at the confluence of Beech and Village Creeks to the Big Thicket National Preserve. The local land trust also acquired 42 acres in Orange County adjacent to the Neches River that will be donated to the Preserve. Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust leaders believe that these additions to the Preserve highlight the importance of land conservation for Texas’ future.
“The actions we take today have many long-lasting consequences for our state and our future,” says Ellen Buchanan, President with the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust. “Living in Texas wouldn’t be the same without wild places to explore and clean, safe water to fuel that exploration. The Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust is just one of many land trusts looking out for our land and people throughout this state.”
Land trusts conserve Texas’ lands and waters by permanently protecting them from development. Land trusts frequently have missions designed to ensure that every Texan has access to clean water and the opportunity to be connected to the state’s natural and cultural heritage. The Texas Land Trust Council is made up of more than 30 land and water conservation organizations working across the state.
Locally, the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust has been protecting Big Thicket unique lands for 15 years.
“Land trusts through the state are doing work like ours to protect their local pieces of paradise,” said Buchanan. “And when we all get together in March, everyone swaps tales about how their Texas treasure is the best.”
This year marks the 20th annual gathering of Texas land trust organizations at the Texas Land Conservation Conference, which will be held March 2-4 in Austin.
“We all may be Texans, but that doesn’t stop local pride from rearing its head as we brag about our volunteers, our preserves, our funders,” said Buchanan. “We are all just so proud of the work we do; it’s hard not to show it off.”
During the conference, experts present workshops and sessions designed to increase the capacity of local land trusts, and to better educate and connect everyone involved with land and water conservation in Texas, so that we can all work together to do this important work.
Conserving land can protect sensitive wetlands that keep polluted runoff out of drinking water, prevent more land from being covered in concrete and preserve habitat for iconic Texas wildlife. There are over 30 land trusts in Texas that have helped to conserve over 1.6 million acres of farms, ranches, wetlands, wildlife habitat, urban parks, forests, watershed, coastlines and river corridors.
“The lands that we protect make up the special fabric of our home state. We are Texans, working together to conserve the lands we grew up with and the water we depend on,” Buchanan said. “We want to ensure that the Texas landscape can be left intact for all of us today and for the future.”
Land trusts conserve natural areas by negotiating private, voluntary agreements with property owners to leave their land undeveloped. These land trust agreements are appealing to many because they offer a nonprofit, voluntary solution for land conservation.
If you would like to support or learn more about land conservation in Texas, visit www.bigthickettrust.org.