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Big Bend Chapter

Program: Field Trip – Independence Creek Preserve

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[from Michael Eason]

Program: Field Trip – Independence Creek Preserve (Texas Nature Conservancy Property)
Date: Sunday August 14th, 2022
Time: Depart from ALP at 8am-ish to 5pm-ish from the UC (University Center) Parking lot on Sul Ross Campus (corner of E Ave B and Harrison ST)

Howdy Big Benders!

Our next, and final program for the season will be to Independence Creek Preserve (Texas Nature Conservancy Property). We really do not have a limit on the number of folks that can attend this trip, but we will need to carpool. Given attendance over the past few programs, we estimated upwards to 40 folks might attend. And Just FYI, we’re up to 120 members in our chapter!

It is about 2.5hrs from Alpine to ICP, which is located in Terrell CO. The route will take us through Sanderson (we will stop to fill up with gas/restrooms break in Sanderson), then to Dryden, we will then head north towards Sheffield and then onto ICP. The preserve is about 20k acres, but we will mostly be around the compound, where all the pools are and the spring which feeds the pools (which pumps out 3-5k gallons per minute). If they have had rain, we may do a bit of botanizing along the lower hills adjacent to the pools.

The pools and the adjacent Independence Creek Proper, which we will visit, holds much of the diversity, with plenty of birds (bring binocs), aquatic life, including some of those plants Casey Willams noted. I would estimate we will spend about 2-3 hours onsite, including lunch break.

And speaking of lunch, please bring your own, or if you are with a group, organize it amongst yourselves. I would advise each vehicle to have their own ice chest with drinks as well.

While I will be in West Texas over this weekend, because of my work schedule, I may not attend this trip, and thus may not have my cooler/s with me. This is not firm yet, but at this point I cannot commit to the ICP trip.

Of course bring comfortable shoes, we will not be doing any extensive hiking, but walking around the pools, and along the gravel within the creek. There is a chance you’ll get wet, whether on purpose or not, so plan accordingly. Water shoes such as sandals work just fine for me. Hats, sunscreen, and other appropriate wear is recommended. Check the weather the day prior, as I have been caught in a rainstorm in the past while working at ICP.

Some folks have gone for a quick dip in the pools in the past, if you wish, there will be an opportunity to go for a swim/wade.

We will return the same route, and again about a 2.5 hour trip via Dryden.

For those worried about walking/hiking too much – the area is very much developed, especially the pool area, concrete/flagstone walkways, plenty of shade provided by pecans and other trees, and generally a very relaxing area just to hang out/have a picnic for an hour or two, don’t feel you’ll need to walk extensively, as I am sure with a large group of folks, we’ll probably break up into at least two smaller groups. I highly recommend this trip, even if it’s just for the scenery.

Please RSVP to big-bend-chapter@npsot.org so we have an idea how many people will be joining this trip, and begin to organize drivers.

Michael Eason

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