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LITTLE LAKE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA

LITTLE LAKE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA. Little Lake Creek Wilderness Area is a 4,000-acre wilderness, the second-smallest and geologically the youngest of the East Texas wilderness areas, located in the southwestern corner of Sam Houston National Forest in Montgomery County. A pondy creek flows down its entire midline. Access to the area is at the intersection of Farm roads 149 and 1791, twelve miles north of Montgomery. The area has an abundance of hawks and owls, a water oak-cottonwood community, and a large bed of Virginia chain fern. Practically every acre of Little Lake Creek Wilderness Area serves as feeding habitat for a dense population of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Seven miles north of Montgomery on Highway 149 is the Lone Star Hiking Trail, which traverses roller-coaster stream branches and ridges to reach the Red Loop, which follows the creek itself for about a mile. Under the closed-canopy hardwood forest along the creek flourish soft mats of agrimony, lady's thumb, lady fern, Texas mallow, and bottomland panicum. Resurrection fern loads the tree limbs in this southernmost wilderness. Vines of many kinds drape in jungle-like profusion. In one area, giant cane almost blots out the trail. The Red Loop continues to Twin Ponds, where green-backed herons live, and proceeds uphill to a large open grove of black walnuts, an excellent camping place with a rich night chorus of frogs, insects, and owls. In 1977 the Roadless Area Resource Evaluation II project targeted the southern half of Little Lake Creek for wilderness, entitling it to protection from timber management. As a result, this portion had more hardwoods in its pine stands than any other pine sites of equal size in the national forests. In 1984, as the East Texas Wilderness Act neared final passage, the Forest Service sold acres of pine trees in all quadrants of the wilderness to stop the spread of southern pine beetles. By mid-1985 at least twenty Little Lake Creek tracts were demolished, including a massive subcanopy fern field. These buffer cuts, however, will eventually return to forest.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Edward C. Fritz, Realms of Beauty: The Wilderness Areas of East Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).

Edward C. Fritz

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Edward C. Fritz, "LITTLE LAKE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/gkl24), accessed December 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.