Spring Creek north

Historically known as “Big Springs”

Most of these photos were taken in during September of 2003 in an area historically  known as Big Springs. This vacant, commercially-zoned wilderness area adjoins privately-owned and occupied acreage once used for both ranching and gravel

mining. Two historically significant homes are gone. The rock outcrops remind one of  the Texas Hill Country many miles southeast of Dallas. Austin Chalk has been exposed here to thousands of years of weathering providing for an extremely interesting landscape for photography and hiking. Rare specimens, flora and fauna miraculously remain despite the impending encroachment of development. We found many of the rareLiatris glandulosa (Gayfeather) growing on exposed areas with little soil as well as  large colonies of Trout Lily in the forest adjacent to Big Springs. This general area is bounded on the north by the north by Campbell Rd. (once called Big Springs Rd.,) the George Bush Tollway, Shiloh Rd. on the west, and by Holford Road on the south where the main channel of Spring Creek swiftly flows. It is by no means a totally pristine area because of the many off-road or ATV vehicles operated by unsupervised teenagers and some adults who trespass and who have destroyed existing historical structures in the recent past. Many limestone roads and trails dissect the area in a beautiful pattern amongst old-growth cedar forests. Several old gravel pits pepper the landscape. The area is in desperate need of protection and restoration.

Rock formations:

Rock formation with Eastern Red Cedars.

Fall images (above)

Right: Broom Whitlow-Wort

Left: Large Liastris glandulosa  (Aug. 8, 2003)..the largest I’ve seen. The areas has a large number of this species.

Middle: Another rare species (for this part of Texas) has been found here also:

the Plains Nipple Cactus (Escobaria missouriensis var. similis)

Jumping Cholla (Opuntia trunicata var. davasii)

Right: Hall’s Prairie Clover (Dalea halhiii)

Right: Jumping Cholla (Opuntia trunicata var. davasii).


Old Gravel Mine and Rocky Prairie

June 14, 2003

Southwest of Naaman Forrest High School and just north of Spring Creek there is a rocky prairie with shallow soil and a nice diversity of grasses and forbs..there are nice colonies of Liatris (Gayfeathers) as well as Texas Plume. On the west side of the prairie there are old gravel pits overgrown with dwarf cedar elm and  Eastern Red Cedar.   There are what could be called depressional pools resembling vernal pools…here the soil is usually wet and the depressions fill with water after heavy rains. The area is actually outside the Spring Creek Forest & Preserve boundary near Namaan Forest High School butneeds to be acquired.

Old gravel pits with dwarf cedar elm; Rocky prairie with eastern red cedars

“vernal pool” with dwarf cedar elm and moss-covered soil ; Texas Centaury, Lady Bird’s Centaury (Centaurium texense)

Colony of Texas Plume or Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra); Close-up of blooms (Ipomopsis rubra)

Giant swallowtail on bull thistle; Black Swallowtail in pasture or wavy-leaf thistle

A lichen”microforest” (Teloschistes exilis, a fruticose species; and Parmotrema hypotropum, a foliose species).  Many of the stunted

cedar elms have lichens growing on them

Lichens on cedar elm with Texas plumes growing in the background.

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