Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 594
2000 Census - 592
Murchison, Texas
Murchison Texas History: 
Murchison was originally known as Lindsey. In 1880 it was renamed for Confederate recruiting officer T.F. Murchison. The St. Louis Southwestern Railway established a stop in Murchison that same year. The Murchison post office was established by 1884. The local economy was based on cotton, corn, fruit and truck farming (small vegetables). By 1914, the town had a telephone system and 200 residents. Today, the town’s proximity to Athens and the Cedar Creek Reservoir adds tourism to its economic base. Many small fishing lakes are located in the Murchison area. Murchison is located at the intersections of SH 31, FM 773, and FM 1616, 33 miles east of Tool, 54 miles northeast of Fairfield, 46 miles northeast of Corsicana, 23.3 miles northeast of Trinidad, 18 miles northeast of Malakoff, 9 miles northeast of Athens, 30.5 miles southeast of canton, 28.7 miles southeast of Gun Barrel City, 26 miles southeast of Mabank, 19 miles southeast of Eustace, 14.5 miles south of Ben Wheeler, 27.8 miles southwest of Tyler, 16.4 miles southwest of Chandler and Lake Palestine, 13.4 miles southwest of Edom, 44 miles northwest of Jacksonville, 28.5 miles northwest of Frankston, and 42.3 miles northwest of Palestine, Texas.Photos
Murchison Railroad Depot Museum:
The museum features exhibits depicting the history of the town and area including old typewriters, railroad lanterns, the original ticket counter and swinging door, furniture, photos and other artifacts.     
Blueberry Hill Farms, Edom:
Open daily, 7am-7pm during blueberry season which begins approximately June 6th. Chuck Arena: (903) 852-6175. The farm is located just south of Edom Texas at 10268 FM 314. Edom is located at the intersection of FM 314 and FM 279, 21.6 miles southeast of Canton, 10 miles southeast of Ben Wheeler, 24 miles southwest of Lindale, 20 miles northwest of Tyler, 13 miles northwest of Chandler, 13.4 miles northeast of Murchison, and 22 miles northeast of Athens, Texas. Edom Texas Map; Click to Enlarge  Edom Texas Area Map
Echo Springs Blueberry Farm, Brownsboro, TX:
Pick your own blueberries. They are open during blueberry season which begins the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. They sell ice cream cones, ice cream Sundays, drinks, snacks, blueberry pastries, frozen blueberries, gift baskets, jams, jellies and coffee. They reopen mid-November for the Christmas holidays. Holiday gift basket orders begin November 19th. (903) 852-5277. (903) 852-3779. The farm is located at 7235 FM 607, Brownsboro, TX 75778. Brownsboro is located at the intersection of SH 31 and FM 314, 16.5 miles northeast of Athens, 8 miles northeast of Murchison, 15 miles southeast of Ben Wheeler, 5 miles south of Edom, 19.7 miles southwest of Tyler, and 8 miles west of Chandler, Texas. Email  Facebook  Brownsboro Map; Click to Enlarge  Brownsboro Area Map
Birding - Texas Prairies and Pineywoods west Birding Wildlife Trail:
Big Woods Loop:  Palestine, Tennessee Colony, Cayuga, Kerens, Corsicana, Ennis, Bardwell, Athens, Fairfield, Mexia, Teague, Groesbeck, Marquez, Centerville, Leona
Lake Tyler Loop:  Troup, Whitehouse, Tyler, Athens, Malakoff, Eustace, Mabank
Texas Bird Checklist with Photos
Bird Checklist for Pineywoods of Eastern Texas
Navarro Mills Lake Bird Checklist
Bird Checklist for North Central Texas
Henderson County Bird Checklist with Photos
Van Zandt County Bird Checklist with Photos
Black Beauty Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Murchison, TX:
This non-profit animal sanctuary is home to more than 1,200 domestic and exotic animals, many of who have been rescued from slaughter houses, biomedical research laboratories and trophy hunting ranches. Others are discards from circuses or roadside zoos, or were former victims of the exotic pet trade. Still others have come from public lands where they were threatened with extermination by the federal government. Animals include bison, cattle, horses, burros, antelope, apes, camels and llamas. Amenities include four lakes and a dozen ponds and brooks. This is not a zoo and is not open for regular public visitation. The ranch hosts two open houses each year for the public. Check the news page for other special events. You may also volunteer on the ranch, donate to the ranch, or adopt an animal (pay for care). The ranch was founded in 1979 by author and animal advocated Cleveland Amory. Donations are accepted. For information abouthousehold pet adoption, read The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption.  (903) 469-3811. The ranch is located at 12526 CR 3806, Murchison, TX 75778. Email  Murchison Texas Map; Click to Enlarge  Murchison Texas Area Map
Purtis Creek State Park Information:
This 1,582 acre park was acquired from private owners in 1977. It opened to the public in 1988. The 355 acre lake was designed specifically as a fishing lake where largemouth bass would be plentiful, and where bass fishing would be on a catch and release basis only. Just east of the park on private property, is a cliff overhang once used by unknown Indians as a temporary shelter. The Petroglyphs carved into the rock walls indicate this area was a good hunting ground. Later, the Wichita and Caddo Indians roamed the area. Due to the great hunting, the area became popular with Anglos in the early to mid-1800s. The road bordering the southern edge of the park was once known as “Tyler to Porter’s Bluff Road,” a well-known stage route from East Texas to the Trinity River. Along this stage route just northeast of Edom near the Neches River, is the site where the famous Cherokee Indian Chief Boles was slain in the 1839 Battle of the Neches. Park entrance and camping fees apply. For more park information read the June 2012 10 Hidden Gems article which mentions Purtis Creek (scroll down), watch the Park Video, and go to the Purtis Creek State Park Home Page. From Athens take U.S. 175 west for 12 miles to Eustace. Go north on FM 316 for 3.5 miles.
Lake Athens Information:
The lake was impounded on Flat Creek in 1962 and has a maximum depth of 50 feet. It is used for municipal water supply, flood regulation, and recreation. Predominant fish species include largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, and redear sunfish. There are no available lake maps. The lake is owned and operated by the Athens Municipal Water Authority. It is located just east of Athens off FM 2495. For more complete lake information, go to the Lake Athens Home PageLake Location Map  TPWD Public Access Facilities Map  Current Lake Level
Cedar Creek Reservoir Information:
This 32,623 surface acre reservoir is the fourth largest lake in Texas. It was impounded on Cedar Creek in 1965. Cedar Creek empties into the Trinity River. The Cedar Creek Dam is located on the south end of the lake in Malakoff, Texas. The lake is 18 miles long, has 320 feet of shoreline, is 8.5 miles at its widest point, and has a maximum depth of 53 feet. It supplies water to Fort Worth and other cities and is used for recreational purposes. It is one of the few lakes in East Texas that permits private ownership of its shoreline and permits the construction of private boathouses. The lake’s proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth area makes it a popular weekend destination for residents of those cities. Many Cedar Creek Lake residents commute to the Dallas area for work. The lake is located approximately 70 miles southeast of Dallas, 3 miles northeast of Trinidad, and 10 miles west of Athens in the area between U.S. 175 and SH 274. For more complete lake information, go to the Cedar Creek Reservoir Home Page. Lake Location Map  Current Lake Level 
Cedar Creek Islands Wildlife Management Area Information:
The 160 acre Cedar Creek Islands WMA is comprised of three islands totaling 160 acres in the Cedar Creek Reservoir. The WMA is heavily used as rookeries by aquatic birds and should not be disturbed during spring and summer. Wildlife viewing is allowed only by boat or from the banks of the Cedar Creek Reservoir. Public access to the islands is not permitted. Predominant bird species include egrets, herons, and cormorants. Camping is available at Purtis Creek Park near Athens, and Fairfield Lake State Park near Fairfield, Texas.For more complete WMA information, go to the Cedar Creek Islands WMA Home PageIn Mabank, drive 5 miles south on SH 334 to Gun Barrel City and cross the reservoir to Seven Points (4 miles). The Big Island is located in the north part of the reservoir off U.S. 175 and Old Highway 40.
Lake Palestine Information:
This 25,560 surface acre lake was impounded on the Neches River in 1962. Itis 18 miles long, has 135 miles of shoreline, and has a maximum depth of 58 feet. The Blackburn Crossing Dam was completed in 1962. The dam was enlarged between 1969 and 1972. The lake is owned and operated by the Upper Neches River Authority. Lake towns include Chandler, Coffee City, and Berryville. Bullard, Frankston and Moore City are located nearby. The lake is located 15 miles northwest of Jacksonville, 20 miles slightly northeast of Palestine, 25 miles east of Athens, and 12 miles southwest of Tyler, Texas. The dam is located 4 miles east of Frankston, Texas. For more complete lake information, go to the Lake Palestine Home Page. Current Lake Level  TPWD Public Access Facilities Map
Big Lake Bottom WMA Information:
In 1990, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department began purchasing land for the Wildlife Management Area in an effort to preserve a relict tract of quality bottomland hardwood habitat which is rapidly disappearing in the Post Oak Savannah Eco-region of Texas.The WMA lies adjacent to the Trinity River and consists of tracts of WMA interspersed with private lands. There are no roads and few trails. Primitive campsites are available. All campers are restricted to designated campgrounds during hunting season. Equestrian use is restricted during hunting season. Hikers must wear orange clothing during hunting season. Deer hunters, both archery and gun, are randomly selected during the Special Permit drawing. Three registration and information stations are available. They are located at the end of CR 2901, at the end of CR 2906/2904; and at the end of CR 2909/2907. All of these country roads are connected to FM 645 North of U.S. 79/84. Access from the Trinity River is prohibited. All visitors must register onsite.For more complete WMA information, go to the Big Lake Bottom WMA Home Page. Go north on Loop 256 in Palestine to FM 320, and then take FM 320 west for eight miles to the intersection of FM 645. Turn left onto FM 645. The WMA main entrance is accessible from CR 2901 off FM 645.
Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area Information:
This 10,958 acre Wildlife Management Area is comprised of 2,000 acres of hardwood bottomland floodplain, almost 500 acres of natural springs and other waters, 350 acres of wetlands, pitcher plant bogs, marshes and swamps, and nearly 300 acres of sphagnum moss bogs. Habitat consists of Post Oak Savannah surrounded by coastal Bermuda grass pastures, harvested timberlands, and fragmented wildlife habitat. Although the land was used for livestock for many years, it was not extensively cleared. Mature bottomland forests still dominate the Catfish Creek area. Five hundred acres of post oak uplands have nearly been returned to its original Post Oak Savannah state through 35 years of prescribed burning. White-tailed deer are available in numbers large enough to permit hunting. Beavers are now abundant and have created many acres of wetlands on the WMA and surrounding lands. Wild turkeys did not prosper; so several more releases were made. The result was a small, unstable population of hybrids between pen-raised Eastern gobblers and Rio Grande hens. More recently, releases were made in 1988, 1995 and 1996. The first Eastern wild turkey hunt was held in 2003. The WMA’s rich variety of wildlife include 37 mammals, 156 birds, 54 reptiles and amphibians, 57 fishes and 900 plant species. For more complete WMA information, go to the Gus Engeling WMA Home Page. From the south, at Palestine, take U.S. 287 northwest 21 miles.
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program, and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened up, and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences. 
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunter Education
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations