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LEARN & EXPLORE
  • STATE FORESTS AND ARBORETUMS: W. GOODRICH JONES STATE FOREST

    W. Goodrich Jones State Forest –1,722 Acres

    This 1,722-acre forest, originally called State Forest #2, was acquired in 1926 by the Forestry Department of Texas A&M University System (now called the Texas A&M Forest Service). Like State Forest #1 (Siecke), funds for the purchase were appropriated by the Texas Legislature, with stipulations that the tracts  be used for research, demonstration and education, serving as examples of working forests to Texas landowners.

     

    The property was first logged in 1892, followed by periodic harvesting for railroad cross ties until the acquisition by the Forestry Department. A wildfire severely burned the area in 1923, and reforestation activities began almost immediately with natural regeneration from native pines.

     

    The second pine seedling nursery in Texas was established in 1927, with a capacity of 1 million bare-root seedlings per year. This use was discontinued in 1940 following the establishment of a modern facility at Alto, Texas.

     

    In 1933, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established on the forest. At the time, TFS planned and supervised the forest protection and conservation work of approximately 3,000 enrollees at 17 such camps across East Texas. Many of the original roads and fire breaks on the forest were constructed by CCC crews. The camp was closed in 1936.

     

    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, 87 years young at the time, made an acknowledging address to the crowd of dignitaries and family.

     

    Today, the Jones State Forest plays host to a large population of the red-cockaded woodpecker, a federally listed endangered species. Forest management activities focus on habitat protection for this important species of the southern yellow pine forest ecosystem. Present day research and demonstration activities include prescribed burning, reforestation, ecological restoration, habitat restoration, best management practice sites, hardwood management, silvicultural thinning studies and food plots for wildlife.

     

    Annually, nearly 100,000 visitors enjoy the state forest with school children from local and surrounding county schools attending several of TFS’s signature environmental outdoor learning classrooms.

     

    Educational Opportunities

    Forest resource education with demonstrations and nature study. Group educational tours available by appointment.

    Recreational Opportunities

    Bird watching
    Hiking
    Horseback riding
    Picnics
    Wildlife viewing
    Biking

    Special Attractions

    • Educational programs, lecture series and environmental educator trainings available
    • Home of Heartwood Chapter Texas Master Naturalist and Friends of Jones State Forest office
    • Presidential Geocaching series
    • Orienteering course challenge
    • Friends of the Jones State Forest Native Plant and Grass Nursery demonstration growing area
    • W. Goodrich Jones State Forest Wildscape and Pollinator demonstration gardens
    • Sweetleaf Nature and Fitness Trail; State Champion Sweetleaf tree, died 2000 (gate combination required)
    • Red-cockaded woodpecker management areas
    • Two small lakes with limited fishing and picnicking
    • Forest management best management practices demonstration sites exist throughout the forest
    • Nearly 15 miles of trails and pathways for horseback riding and outdoor exercise and enjoyment
    • Designated horse-rider and trailer area (gate combination required)

       

        Open

        The forest is open year-round during daylight hours only. Texas state forests are game sanctuaries with no firearms or hunting allowed.

        No restroom facilities except at main office building.

        State forest is 'Pack it in & Pack it out'

         

        Information

        • Maps and restrooms are available Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Conroe District Office on F.M. 1488, 1.5 miles west of Interstate 45. Call 936-273-2261 for information
        • There are three public parking lots accessible on FM 1488: near main office, front lake area and horse trailer entrance area
          • For additional information about the red-cockaded woodpecker, please visit the RCW research page of Dr. James Hanula

           

          Map

          Trail map

             


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