I.D. Fairchild State Forest –2,740 Acres
a part of the State Prison System, the land that was called State Forest #3 was
transferred in 1926 to the Forestry Department of Texas A&M University (now
called Texas A&M Forest Service). The property consists of approximately
2,360 acres in various scattered parcels in the western portion of Cherokee
County. The largest main tract is located just a few miles west of Maydelle,
Texas, and is bisected by State Highway 84.
The only sawmill ever
operated by the State of Texas was located on the site. In the early 1900s
citizens of Rusk and Palestine made a strong plea to encourage the State
Legislature to extend the State Railroad to Palestine on the basis the line was
needed to help timber interests. As a result, the Mewshaw mill was constructed
on the site in 1907. It was staffed with convict labor and had a daily
production of 35,000 board feet of lumber. Mewshaw burned in 1912 and was never
At the time of acquisition from the State Prison System, the
forest was already well-stocked and large scale plantings were not necessary.
However, in 1939, some restoration followed a large wildfire that swept through
the Mt. Hope tract just east of Maydelle, killing an estimated 150 acres of
young pine trees.
From 1933 until 1936, a large Civilian Conservation
Corps camp was located on the main tract. Enrollees constructed roads, fire
breaks, small ponds and bridges on the forest; today, some of these improvements
may still be found. Many of the poles used for fire control telephone lines
connecting lookout towers throughout East Texas were harvested by the CCC from
State Forest #3.
For a number of years, TFS utilized former CCC
facilities to host annual personnel meetings at the forest. The buildings were
also used for outdoor education camps by local conservation groups, 4-H and
public schools. Most of the structures were dismantled in the mid 1950’s.
To recognize his support of forestry in Texas, on September 11, 1956
State Forest #3 was dedicated the I.D. Fairchild State Forest, after the late
Senator from Lufkin. A large plaque can be found on state forest property,
adjacent to, and south of the intersection of State Highway 84 and FM 747.
Like other Texas state forests, the Fairchild is a working,
demonstration forest and has served as a site for numerous silvicultural and
research studies: harvest cutting, farm forestry, timber stand improvement,
reforestation, tree growth, prescribed burning and seed production. The forest
also hosts a small population of the federally-listed endangered species, red-cockaded
woodpecker. Today, forest management activities focus on habitat protection
for this important species of the southern yellow pine ecosystem.
resource education and nature study tours are available by
Historical fire tower site with plaque
Pond with picnic area
Various forest management
demonstration areas and sites
is open year-round during daylight hours. Texas state forests are game
sanctuaries with no firearms or hunting allowed.
No Restroom Facilities
are available on this state forest.
Jacksonville District Office
1015 SE Loop 456
Jacksonville, TX 75766
Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm