Articles by Buddy Moore


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BIG THICKET

State Parks in Thicket Country

Hardin County:
The only county in the state of Texas that has both a
National and a State Park!



Five of the state's 105 State Parks are located within the seven-county area referred to by the Greater Kountze Area Tourist Association as "Thicket Country." The newest park, Village Creek State Park, is located in Hardin County.

Under the direction of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, features ranging from wilderness preserves to outdoor recreational areas to historic sites are available. Park visitors find abundant camping facilities, hiking and nature trails, close-up views of birds and wildlife, flora from shady forests and frequent opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating. Fishing is allowed in all water-access state parks, and fishing license are available at each. No hunting or shooting of any kind is permitted.

In addition of the state park in Hardin Coutny, Polk county, Jasper County and two Jefferson Coutny State Parks now offer tourists a variety of handsome, beautifully maintained state parks.

Village Creek State Park

A 942-acre resource, is located in Lumberton, a community some 14 miles south of Kountze and 10 north of Beaumont on U.S. Highway 96. The park has more than a mile of frontage on Village Creek and features a range of outdoor recreation activities. Overnight camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, picnicking, canoeing and birdwatching are main attractions. The park site is covered with dense bottomland forest and, enhancing the wild flavor, tens of thousands of acres of woodlands stretch east and north from the park toward the Neches River. Recreational facilities include 25 hookup sites with water and electricity (make reservations); 35 tent sites, some with water; a group facility; a playground; hiking trails; a canoe launch/takeout; a shower/restroom building; an open air pavilion; a picnic area. Cooking grills and tables are at he campsites. The adjacent community of Lumberton can furnish picnic supplies, groceries, fishing gear and fishing licenses. Village Creek is renowned as a float stream. There are several canoe outfitters in the area that can arrange for a party of people to float down the creek to the state park, camping on sandbars along the way. Or, a canoe float trip can be arranged to start in the state park, continue down to the Neches River and take out here. Sixty-three mile long Village Creek is the heart and soul of what remains of the Old Texas Big Thicket. A popular flat-water canoe stream, the creek rises near the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation and flows SE to a junction with the Neches River. The steam in unique among the free flowing water of Texas. It retains a wild flavor, notwithstanding its nearness to urban areas, that is really striking. As canoes glide past its quiet forested banks, the aspect up ahead is...snow-white sandbars...more sandbars...then still more sandbars. Village Creek State Park is located on Alma Drive in Lumberton, Texas. For all reservations call 1-513-389-8900. For information only, call toll-free 1-800-792-1112. For further assistance, contact Village Creek State Park, P.O. Box 8575, Lumberton, Texas 77711, phone 409-755-7322.

Lake Livingston State Park in Polk County

640 acres on the east shoreline of Lake Livingston among pine and hardwood forest. Facilities include multi-use campsites with hookups, screened shelters, group trailer sites and shelter, boat ramps, bathhouse, store, gas and floating docks, rest rooms, showers and dump station. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, hiking and nature trails. About seven miles southwest of Livingston, U.S. 59 via FM 1988 southwest FM 3126 north to Park Road 65. An admission is charged.

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park

The 705-acre park is located on the 15,000-acre B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir in the heavily forested area known as the "East Texas Piney Woods". The park has numerous creeks, known as sloughs, and cypress, willows, beech, magnolia and sweet bay are common. Each fall the golden hues of beeches are brilliant against the reds of blackgum and oaks mixed among the evergreen pines. Hiking trails provide excellent opportunities to view wildlife including woodland warblers, woodpeckers, bluebirds, heron, wood ducks, cranes and alligators. The B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir is the site of the winter ball eagle census. Campsites and shelters accommodate up to 8 persons with a combination of motor vehicles and trailers not to exceed tow. Picnic table, grill and restrooms with showers are nearby. Other facilities include 66 campsites with water nearby, primarily for tent campers; 35 campsites (pull-through) with water, electricity and two sanitary dump stations available; 80 campsites (back-in) with water and electricity; 46 screened shelters with picnic tables, electrical outlet, interior light, no pets; group facilities reserved by drawing, deadline January 10 thereafter call park to reserve open dates; recreation hall, day use only, AC/heat, restrooms, kitchen, capacity 75; hiking trails meander through bottomland forests; swimming in two designated areas (no lifeguard on duty); fishing from two lighted fishing piers, fish cleaning facilities near piers and ramps, crappie, bass and catfish; boating, three ramps for lake access can rent boats and canoes; wildlife observation and photography, all kinds, bring camera.

Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park

In Jefferson County - site of astonishing Civil War battle of September 8, 1863, a Union attempt to invade Texas at Sabine Pass. Union fleet numbered some 20 vessels and 5,000 men; confederate defense was small earth-work, six cannons, and 42 men under Lts. Richard W. Dowling and N.H. Smith. Confederate fire so devastating that three union gunboats crippled in 45 minutes, two captured. Federals lost 65 men killed, wounded and missing. 315 taken prisoner by the Confederates who suffered no casualties. Remaining Union force retired to New Orleans. Dominating today's park is a statue of Dick Dowling on base of Texas pink granite. Boat ramp, fish-cleaning shelter, restrooms, picnic facilities with water and grills. Fine view of ships entering and leaving Gulf of Mexico. South 15 miles on FM 3322 off Texas 87. Day use only.

Sea Rim State Park

In Jefferson County - with a 5.2 mile coastline and 15,109 acres of marshland, the park offers a variety of recreational opportunities. From the visitors center, a boardwalk nature trail acquaints the visitor with marsh ecology. Boat trails provide access to the marsh. Camping in designated areas (with hookups) along beach, or on platforms in marsh area. Abundant wildlife, fishing, swimming. Fourteen miles southwest on Texas 87. An admission is charged.

If you enjoy outdoor living, here are nearby points of interest you will also enjoy:

  • Sam Rayburn Reservoir
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Big Thicket National Preserve
  • Jasper Fish Hatchery
  • Beaumont Oil Museum
  • Lufkin Ellen Trout Zoo
  • Texas Forestry Museum - Lufkin
  • Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation
  • National Forests: Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett



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