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County
Liberty
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Pineywoods
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Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
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Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Information:
The initial National Wildlife Refuge lands purchase was a 4,400 acre parcel acquired in 1994. The refuge now totals 23,000 acres of mostly undeveloped bottomland hardwood forest along the Trinity River in southeast Texas. Habitat consists of a broad flat floodplain with sloughs, oxbow lakes (resacas), artesian wells and tributaries. The invasion of some highly aggressive plant species is a constant concern on the refuge. The Chinese tallow tree is so aggressive it can alter the habitat within a few years, and the Giant Salvinia, an exotic water fern found in Champion Lake in 2000, could choke out the entire 800 surface acre lake in months if not kept in check. Fields are periodically mowed to provide habitat for grassland birds such as Sedge Wrens, Henslow’s Sparrow, and other sparrows. Over 13,000 oak, ash and cypress seedlings have been planted on the agricultural lands. Wildlife species include waterfowl, white-tailed deer, squirrels, several furbearers, freshwater turtles, alligators, snakes, river otters, and the American Bald Eagle. 5 refuge tracts with parking lots and trails are open to walkers daily, sunrise to sunset. Champion Lake is the only developed tract of refuge land. Lake amenities include hiking and nature trails, an ADA compliant fishing pier, a levee, a boat ramp, a chemical toilet, and a butterfly/hummingbird garden. The new NWR headquarters building was dedicated in January 2012. Boats must have 10hp or less (trolling motors). Be aware of alligators, water moccasins, and hidden stumps, and bring a GPS. Cell phones generally do not work in this area. The refuge hosts an annual Free Family Fishing Day and other events. Fishing licenses are not required during this event. Volunteer positions are available by calling (936) 258-5807 or by Email. The refuge is open daily, sunrise to sunset. The Champion Lake Area is located at the end of CR 417, two miles east of FM 1409 in southern Liberty County. It is located approximately 10 miles south of U.S. 90 in Dayton, and approximately 6 miles north of the IH-10 Cove Exit (FM 565).
 
Trinity River:
The Trinity River rises in three principal branches, the East Fork, the Elm Fork, and the West Fork; a shorter and smaller fourth stream is named the Clear Fork. The East Fork of the Trinity River rises in central Grayson County and flows south seventy-eight miles, through Collin, Rockwall, Dallas, and Kaufman Counties, to the southwestern part of Kaufman County, where it joins the West Fork. The Elm Fork of the Trinity rises in eastern Montague County and flows southeast eighty-five miles, through Cooke and Denton Counties, to its confluence with the West Fork at the beginning of the Trinity River proper just north of Hampton Road, a mile west of downtown Dallas. The Clear Fork of the Trinity rises in northwestern Parker County and flows forty-five miles to join the West Fork of the Trinity at Fort Worth in central Tarrant County. From the junction of the East and West Forks the Trinity River Proper continues southeast, forming the boundaries between several Texas counties. It then cuts across northern Walker County to form a portion of the county line between Walker and Trinity counties and the county line between Trinity and San Jacinto, and San Jacinto and Polk Counties. At the northern county line of Liberty County the Trinity turns almost directly south, cutting across Liberty and Chambers Counties, to its mouth on Trinity Bay just west of Anahuac. The Trinity flows 423 miles from the confluence of the Elm and West Forks to the coast, making it the longest river having its entire course in Texas. In addition to several dams on the river’s tributaries, the Trinity is dammed just above Camilla in San Jacinto County to form Livingston Reservoir. Other river lakes include Grapevine Lake, Lavon Lake, Ray Roberts Lake, Lake Arlington, Lake Worth, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lewisville Lake. Cities located on the Trinity River include Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Garland, Irving, Richardson, Plano, Grand Prairie, Baytown, Mesquite, Camilla and Anahuac.  Trinity River Fish Stocking History
 
Champion Lake Public Use Area at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge:
The lake consists of 800 acres of flooded cypress trees and buttonbush. Amenities include a butterfly garden (by the parking lot), an ADA compliant fishing pier, a boat ramp, a 0.75 mile levee road, hiking and nature trails, and a portable toilet. Activities include fishing, hiking, and nature viewing. Fishing is also available in a small stream at Pickett’s Bayou. This stream is connected to the Trinity River rather than to the lake. Boat motors must have 10hp or less (trolling motors). Be aware of alligators, water moccasins, and hidden stumps, and bring a GPS. Cell phones generally do not work in this area. The lake is the only free fishing spot in Liberty County. The refuge hosts an annual June Free Family Fishing Day and other events. Fishing licenses are not required at this event. The duck hunting area is located north of CR 417. The lake islocated at the end of CR 417, two miles east of FM 1409 in southern Liberty County, approximately 10 miles south of U.S. 90 in Dayton, and approximately 6 miles north of the IH-10 Cove Exit (FM 565).
Champion Lake Facilities Map 
Champion Lake Trails Map
 
Trails at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge:
Over 15 miles of primitive trails are scattered over the 7 tracts of land open to the public. Most of the trails are not marked and most of the trails flood or have standing rainwater at various times during the year.
The Boar's Den unit has 5.6 miles of trails, the Butler unit has 0.45 miles, and the Hirsch unit has approximately two miles of trails. The McGuire Trails Map shows a short boardwalk and 3.16 miles of trail. The 0.1 mile Silver Lake unit trail is ADA compliant. The Page unit has 4.6 miles of trails. The Brierwood unit has a 0.6 mile short loop trail, a 6 mile large loop trail and benches. The developed Champion Lake area has 2.3 miles of hiking trails, and 7.1 miles of boating trails. A portion of the hiking trails is ADA compliant. You may also walk along the levee at Champion Lake and walk the short trail located behind the butterfly garden.
 
Trinity River NWR Great Egret’s Ridge Trail System(New 2014), 5.3 Miles:
These primitive trails wind through undisturbed bottomland hardwood forests following old logging roads. They include the 1.2 mile Passel Pass Trail, the 2 mile Great Egret’s Ridge Loop, and the 1.5 mile Boggy Boots Loop. Great Egret’s Ridge Loop Trail has three scenic overlooks. The third scenic overlook provides access to the Trinity River. At the beginning of the trail you will walk through three closed gates. The trails are marked by yellow posts and colored tree markers. The trailhead is located just north of the intersection of Trinity and Ohio Streets, near the old City of Liberty maintenance buildings. It is marked with a kiosk and two yellow posts. (936) 336-9786. 936-336-9786 936-336-9786   
 
Directions to 7 Trinity River National WildlifeRefuge Tracts:
The refuge is located in the southern portion of Liberty County off FM 1409 and CR 417. From IH-10 exit Old River/Winfree, go north on FM 565 to FM 1409. Go north on FM 1409 to CR 417. Turn left on CR 417, and travel 1.8 miles to the end of the gravel road (government facilities will be located on the left side of the road). From Dayton, Texas, take FM 1409 South 10.5 miles to CR 417, and turn left.