Deal protects 7,800 acres adjacent to Big Thicket

LUFKIN, Texas (Feb. 24, 2010) – The Conservation Fund, Texas Forest Service and The Campbell Group, LLC, recently completed the state's largest Forest Legacy project, permanently protecting more than 7,800 acres of forestland surrounding the Big Thicket National Preserve.

The project concludes a multi-year effort by the three organizations to conserve working forests and ultimately protect from subdivision and development more than 10,700 acres of environmentally significant forestland adjacent to the Big Thicket's Turkey Creek Unit.

The Forest Legacy Program, funded by the USDA Forest Service, works with state agencies and local landowners to protect environmentally important forests that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. The Conservation Fund, through a grant from the Brown Foundation, also provided funding for the projects.

Texas Forest Service successfully competed for $3.5 million in federal funds to complete the three-phase Turkey Creek Forest Legacy Project. An additional $1.1 million was contributed in the form of a matching grant from The Conservation Fund.

The State of Texas used the money to purchase a working forest conservation easement on the property. Under the conservation easement, Crown Pine Timber 1, LP, a private forest managed by The Campbell Group, LLC, retains ownership of the land as well as the right to manage it as a sustainable working forest.

"The easement serves as an important buffer to Big Thicket National Preserve, provides open space and recreation opportunities, provides critical watershed protection and preserves habitat for a number of plant and animal species," said Jan Davis, staff forester with Texas Forest Service.

Texas Forest Service will monitor and enforce the conditions of the easement.

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