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UPLAND ISLAND WILDERNESS AREA

UPLAND ISLAND WILDERNESS AREA. Upland Island Wilderness Area, the largest and most diversified protected wilderness area in East Texas, comprises 12,700 acres of Angelina National Forest thirty-three miles southeast of Lufkin in Angelina and Jasper Counties. The rich diversity of ecosystems at Upland Island ranges from longleaf pine uplands to palmetto and willow oak swamps along Graham Creek to arid, yucca-studded, sandy lands above Falls Creek. The area's most distinctive geological feature is a 2,000-acre ridge of Catahoula formation in the south central portion of the wilderness, nearly surrounded by creeks and 250 feet above the bottomlands at its highest point. Associated with the ridge is the largest undisturbed longleaf pine-bluejack oak parkland in the world; along its slopes, groundwater seeps from the impermeable Catahoula layer sustain rare species of orchids, club mosses, liverworts and ferns, as well as all four Texas genera of carnivorous plants. In a preliminary survey of only one small section of Upland Island in 1980, a team from Stephen F. Austin State University identified 461 plant species in eleven habitat types, including numerous rare and endangered species. The team also identified twenty-nine species of mammals, ninety-one of birds, thirty-six of amphibians and reptiles, fourteen of fish, and hundreds of insects. Upland Island is one habitat of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and one of only six known habitats of the toothpick grasshopper. The wilderness area is also home to some of the largest trees in the United States, including a longleaf pine that is twenty-seven feet in circumference, the nation's largest snow-bell and barberry hawthorn trees, and the largest Florida basswood tree ever reported. A 165-foot tall cherrybark oak and a shagbark hickory within the preserve are among the largest trees in Texas. The main northern approach to Upland Island is via Forest Road 303 from State Highway 63. Southern access is from Forest Road 314, one-half mile east of U.S. Highway 69. Several trails traverse the area, and limited primitive camping is allowed at selected sites.

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, "UPLAND ISLAND WILDERNESS AREA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/gku01), accessed November 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.