Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary reopens after four-month closure due to Hurricane Harvey

Silsbee | December 18, 2017

The Nature Conservancy’s Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary in Silsbee, Texas is now open after being closed for several months due to flooding and other impacts sustained during Hurricane Harvey. 

The 5,654-acre property located approximately 20 miles north of Beaumont in Silsbee, Texas is a designated stop on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and considered one of the top 500 birding destinations in the United States. It contains a rare combination of swamp, open-floor forest and southern pinelands to create a preserve with remarkable diversity, sustaining 582 plant species and 234 animal species. 

Visitors can access the preserve at no charge, 365 days a year during daylight hours to hike, bird watch and study nature, or rent canoes and kayaks from local vendors on Village Creek. Currently, the upland trails are open; portions of the floodplain trail still remain closed while repairs and clean up continue.  

The sanctuary is part of a comprehensive effort to protect and restore the longleaf pine ecosystem on the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Longleaf pine forests are among the most rapidly disappearing ecosystems in the southeastern United States. Some 90 million acres of majestic longleaf pine forest once stretched from Virginia to Texas, but only three percent of this biologically rich natural system survives today.

“The Sandyland Sanctuary is a great place to get outside and enjoy nature with friends and family over the holidays so we’ve been working extra hard to get the preserve open in time,” said Wendy Ledbetter, Forest Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Texas. “On behalf of everyone at The Nature Conservancy in Texas, thank you for your patience and we hope to see you out on the trail!” 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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Vanessa Martin


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