The public is invited to join the fun at an outdoor day in the woods Saturday, September 24, at the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area in the Davy Crockett National Forest. Texas Conservation Alliance (TCA) will host guided nature walks Saturday morning and a fun program with live music Saturday afternoon.
Activities begin at 9:00 am with a two-hour walk led by experienced guide Larry Shelton. After a drive to the trailhead, Larry will lead the walk into an area of the national forest nominated as a Special Management Area because of its exceptional ecological values.
Beginning at 10:00 am, David Bezanson of The Nature Conservancy will lead a walk along the south end of the 4C Hiking Trail, which starts in the Ratcliff Lake Rec Area. David Lewis and Heinz Gaylord, known throughout East Texas for their knowledge of fungi and plants, will lead a shorter walk around the recreation area beginning at 11:00 am.
All walks will gather to meet the guide at the CCC Group Shelter by the lake. Participants should bring water and lunch, and expect to be back to the Group Shelter between noon and 1:00 pm.
Texas Conservation Alliance plans an entertaining program at the CCC Group Shelter at 2:00 pm. TCA's featured guest speaker, Kent Evans, Coordinator of the Texas Longleaf Implementation Team, will describe public and private efforts to restore the native Longleaf pine, the tree that gave East Texas the nickname "Piney Woods".
TCA will present George Bristol with a "Conservation Hero" award for his terrific work to secure dedicated funding for Texas' State Park System. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is honoring Bristol with a scholarship named for him. The George Bristol Texas Parks Leadership Fund will give leadership advancement opportunities for outstanding state park employees.
The program will finish with live music by local bluegrass band Hickory Ridge.
Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is located on TX Hwy 7 just west of the town of Ratcliff. From Crockett, take Hwy 7 east for 20 miles to the entrance. From Lufkin, take TX Hwy 103 west fourteen miles to Hwy 7, then continue west on Hwy 7 for about twelve miles.