The W.G. Jones State Forest is a working forest owned and administered by the Texas A&M Forest Service. The forest was purchased in 1926 to establish a research/demonstration area in the heart of one of the richest timber producing areas of the state to educate landowners, loggers, and forestry students about what is now termed sustained yield forestry—the ability of a forested ecosystem to balance the utilization of natural resources, habitat enrichment for native flora and fauna, with quality human experience.
At a ceremony on May 19, 1949, the forest was formally dedicated and renamed the William Goodrich Jones State Forest, in honor of the Father of Forestry in Texas, Mr. W. Goodrich Jones.
In the year 1888, W. Goodrich Jones began his life-long crusade to bring conservation to the Lone Star State when he moved to Temple, Texas. Jones recalled “Not a tree was to be seen” and he decided to do something about it.
He first planted pecans in a tin can on his hotel room’s window sill. Later, one of the seedlings was planted in front of his home on Adams and Second Street. “That pecan was the town’s first tree planting,” claimed Jones. He then encouraged Temple’s citizens to plant trees to create shade along Temple’s barren, dusty streets. By his action, he conceivably initiated the first urban forestry project in a Texas town.
This small step evolved into a state Arbor Day in 1889, held on George Washington’s birthday (until 2013 when Texas Arbor Day moved to the first Friday in November). Eventually, Jones’ pioneering and tireless efforts would bring forestry to Texas, creating both the Texas Forestry Association and the Department of Forestry (now Texas A&M Forest Service).
Read more about history of the Jones Forest on our Interactive Story Map.