- Texarkana COC, (903) 792-7191, www.texarkana.org
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220B for Richmond Rd. Go left (northwest) on Richmond Rd. for 3.9 miles to where it merges with FM 559. Bear right (north) on FM 559 and follow it north 0.9 miles to FM 2311 in Wamba. Turn right (north) on FM 2311 for 0.6 miles to FM 2312/ Waterworkds Rd. Turn right (east) on FM 2312 and follow it 0.4 miles to its dead end at Bringle Lake Dam and spillway. CR 2312 runs into a city owned road that is NOT an all-weather road. Heavy rains will make traveling this road rough unless in a four-wheel-drive vehicle - but the road dries quickly.
Located just a short distance from Texarkana, this lovely park along the shores of Lake Bringle attracts woodland birds such as Pileated Woodpecker, Great-crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo and Summer Tanager. Look for a variety of waterfowl in winter, including the diminutive Bufflehead and the majestic White Pelican. The shoreline of the lake hosts Great Blue and Green Herons and serves as a moisture source for numerous butterflies and dragonflies. Butterflies to look for include Giant Swallowtail, Question Mark, and American Snout Butterfly. Dragonflies include the striking Widow Skimmer and the constantly cruising Prince Baskettail.
Phone: (903) 798-3978.
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 222 for Summerhill Road North. Follow Summerhill Road North 4.0 miles. Turn left (west) onto Sparks Lane. The marsh runs for 1.0 mile north of the road.
The north side of Sparks Lane is bordered by a beautiful freshwater marsh. During the summer, look for wading birds such as Great and Cattle Egrets, Great Blue, Little Blue and Green Herons and perhaps a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Wood Ducks are year round residents, and migratory waterfowl can be observed during winter. The marsh provides habitat for a variety of wetland species, including Red-eared Sliders and Eastern Pond Hawk and Blue Dasher dragonflies. The surrounding open fields provide habitat for Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Kingbirds and Dickcissels. Look for raptors such as Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Cooper's Hawks hunting the open areas, especially in winter.
Phone: (903) 798-3978
Lake Wright Patman
Wildlife Viewing Area: From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 8.5 miles to FM 2148. Turn right (west) onto FM 2148. Go 1.0 mile and turn left at the Wright Patman Lake sign. Take the second left into the Elliot's Bluff area. The wildlife viewing stand will be on the right, 1.7 miles down the road.
The observation platform located just north of the Lake Wright Patman dam is a great place to scan the lake. The brush leading to the stand resounds with bird song in early summer, with Blue-gray Gnatcatchers buzzing from the treetops and Yellow-breasted Chats churring from the undergrowth. Look for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers overhead and listen to the calls of both American and Fish Crows. Climb the stand and look across the surrounding marshland and flooded forest. Look for wading birds fishing and a variety of waterfowl during winter. Keep an eye on the sky for the occasional Bald Eagle or Osprey that may pass overhead.
Developed Wetland Area:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 8.5 miles to FM 2148. Turn right (northwest) onto FM 2148 and follow 0.6 miles. Park in the small gravel lot on the left side of FM 2148. The wetland area is about 500 yards off of FM 2148, through the old 4-wheeler area.
This site is characterized by open sandy flats mixed with dense stands of pines. As you walk across the flats, notice the tracks left by dozens of woodland creatures, including White-tailed Deer, Raccoon, and Opossum. Look for Wood Ducks on the ponds or at the edge of the woods. Dragonflies such as Banded Pennants and Red Saddlebags cruise the shoreline. Listen for the metallic trumpet calls of White-breasted Nuthatches and the buzzy calls of Pine Warblers.
Clear Springs Trails:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 8.5 miles to FM 2148. Turn right (northwest) onto FM 2148. Turn left at the Wright Patman Lake sign after 1.0 mile. Follow the road 2.1 miles (straight) to Clear Springs Park. Accessible to campers only.
Clear Springs Trails provides a chance to explore mixed woodlands with stately pines stretching to the sky. The woods are filled with the sounds of Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Summer Tanagers blending with the more regular calls of Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wrens. Listen for Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos as they call from overhead. Scan the treetops for the noisy and active Great-crested Flycatchers. Look on the ground for Ground Skinks or perhaps an occasional Rough Green Snake.
Clear Springs ATV Area:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South for 2.2 miles to the US 67 Exit. Take US 67 west 9.5 miles to FM 991 in Redwater. Turn left onto FM 991 and go 2.2 miles to the double gate on the left just before the bridge disapears into the lake (WP-52). Park in the large parking area on the left. The area is open by appointment and during hunting season.
The clear springs area lies along the north shore of Lake Wright Patman and is comprised of a series of paved and unpaved roads and trails perfect for walking, biking or horseback riding. Common birds include Yellow-breasted Chats, White-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. This area is also frequented by Orchard Orioles, whose high-pitched warbling whistles can be heard from time to time. The open fields and forests provide for excellent butterfly watching. Search the numerous wildflowers for Variegated Fritillary, Common Buckeye, Funereal Duskywing and Black and Polydamas Swallowtails.
Big Creek ATV Area:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South for 2.1 miles to the US 67 Exit. Take US 67 west 15.2 miles to SR 8 in Maud. Turn left (south) on SR 8 and follow 1.0 miles to FM 2624. Turn left on FM 2624 and follow it 1.0 mile to its end at CR 1211. Turn left on CR 1211 and follow it 0.6 miles to CR 1207. Turn right on CR 1207 for 1.0 mile to the parking area for Big Creek ATV area.
This site offers access to woodland along the banks of Lake Wright Patman. The woods are filled with the sounds of busy woodpeckers, ranging from the subtle tapings of the Downy Woodpecker to the raucous call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker. Listen for the impressive, loud drumming of the Pileated Woodpecker. In such heavy woodland actually seeing birds can be challenging and visitors may have to settle for hearing familiar calls as the birds stay well hidden a hundred feet up. Birds such as Red-eyed Vireos, Acadian Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees and Pine Warblers are all usually more easily heard than seen. With patience you may see White-tailed Deer or a Barred Owl.
Boy Scout Landing:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South for 2.1 miles to the US 67 Exit. Take US 67 west 15.2 miles to SR 8 in Maud. Turn left (south) on SR 8 and follow 1.0 mile to FM 2624. Turn left (east) on FM 2624 and follow it 5.2 miles to its end at CR 1211. Turn left (east) on CR 1211 and go 0.6 miles to CR 1207. Turn right on CR 1207 for 1.0 mile. At the Big Creek ATV area, turn right on CR 1200. Go 0.3 miles to the end of the road at the gate to Boy Scout Landing (WP-51).
Boy Scout Landing is located just down the road from the Big Creek ATV area. A gated paved road provides access all the way to Lake Wright Patman's shoreline. Walk the trail to look for birds such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, White-eyed and Red-eyed vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Summer Tanager. The end of the trail descends into the reservoir and is a great spot to 'pish' for birds. Just a few squeaks can attract Carolina Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, Great-crested Flycatchers and striking Prothonotary Warblers, all of which come surprisingly close. Widow Skimmer and Common Whitetail dragonflies occur in abundance. Careful inspection of dragonflies could turn up the local Bayou Clubtail. Also look for White-tailed Deer and the occasional Three-toed Box Turtle.
Berry Farm Park:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South for 2.1 miles to the US 67 Exit. Take US 67 west 15.2 miles to SR 8 in Maud. Turn left (south) on SR 8 and follow 1.0 mile to FM 2624. Turn left (east) on FM 2624 and follow it 4.0 miles to FM 1202. Turn right on FM 1202; the road ends after 2.8 miles at the park.
This small park is big on birds. A number of martin houses consistently attract over one hundred Purple Martins each spring and summer, and the martins are often joined by other types of swallows who feed above the reservoir. The woods around the park host Great-crested Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos and Yellow-throated, Prothonotary and Pine Warblers. In winter, scan the water for waterfowl and the occasional grebe or loon. Other winter attractions include large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls with rarer species intermixed, as well as the annual occurrence of Bald Eagles, which often perch in the trees along the shoreline. The park also hosts a variety of butterflies, drawn to the abundant flowering plants on the grounds. Search for American Snout, Hackberry Emperor, Eastern Tiger and Black Swallowtails, Common Buckeye and a variety of hairstreaks and skippers.
Anderson Creek Wilderness Area:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South for 2.1 miles to the US 67 Exit. Take US 67 west approximately 19.1 miles to gate WP-86. The Anderson Creek area is on the right after 5.3 miles; water areas can be seen from US 67.
Just north of US 67, Anderson Creek Wilderness Area encompasses a large expanse of impressive wetlands and flooded forest. These are easily seen from the road and can also be accessed through gate WP-86. Species to search for in the marsh include Great Egret, Little Blue and Green Herons, Wood Duck and the snake-necked Anhinga. Look for the striking flashes of black/white/red indicating the presence of Red-headed Woodpeckers in the numerous dead trees. Also watch for the brilliant yellow of Prothonotary Warblers along the wooded edge. Watch the sky for an occasional Red-shouldered Hawk or the impressive acrobatics of a Mississippi Kite. Visitors to the wetlands in winter are treated to a larger variety of waterfowl. Visit in the evening to spot Raccoons and other mammals.
Old Sulphur River Channel:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 11.0 miles. Turn right just before the Sulphur River Bridge into the TXDOT boat ramp area. Turn right at the parking lot (road will parallel the old river channel for 0.4 miles).
The Old Sulphur River Channel is a relict of the time before Lake Wright Patman, with the river still flowing here and the banks flanked with impressive cottonwoods and other riparian species. The access road to the boat ramp provides an excellent opportunity to explore this habitat and enjoy the native wildlife. Check the river for Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons stalking frogs and fish in the shallows. Look in the canopy for the occasional Baltimore Oriole, which nest in the area. The brushy parts of the riverbank provide for 'chipping' Northern Cardinals and 'scolding' White-eyed Vireos. Prothonotary Warblers are plentiful near the water's edge. This area can also be excellent for Neotropical migratory birds during spring, especially after inclement weather.
Emergency Spillway Channel:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 9.5 miles. Turn right at the first Wright Patman Lake sign, approximately 1.0 mile past CR 2148. Turn left at stop sign after 0.4 miles. Follow road below the dam, crossing over the dam's stilling basin at Sulphur Point. Park at the Ladybird parking lot after 1.9 miles.
The lake's emergency spillway cuts through a mixed pine and hardwood forest that at times resounds with birdsong. Indigo Buntings sing from the treetops as Red-bellied Woodpeckers call from the pines. Common residents include Carolina Wrens and Pine Warblers: two species that are often attracted by 'pishing.' The woodland supports at least one pair of stately Mississippi Kites, which can be seen flying high over the neighboring woodland. These aerial acrobats prey on dragonflies such as Eastern Pondhawks and Common Green Darners. Butterflies to look for include the attractive Common Buckeye and the enormous Giant Swallowtail. The rocky slopes leading into the emergency spillway channel are home to a family of Mink, which can sometimes be seen scrambling over the rocks.
Rocky Point / Piney Point Trail:
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 11.8 miles. Turn right (west) on the local road just past the Sulphur River. Follow 0.3 miles to the stop sign. Turn left and proceed another 0.3 miles then turn left again and go 0.8 miles to the park. Note: This site is accessible to campers only.
Rocky Point and the Piney Point Trail offer great access to the southern shore of Lake Wright Patman. The site provides numerous opportunities to scan the reservoir for wintering waterfowl, migrant White Pelicans, or vagrants such as grebes, loons or northern gulls. Common residents of the park include Gray Squirrels and a plethora of woodland birds. Indigo Buntings and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers frequent the forest edge, while Summer Tanagers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos are found deeper in the woods. While walking the trail, take note of some of the less conspicuous residents of the forest, such as the diminutive Little Wood Satyr with its dainty eyespots, or the brilliant emerald green of an Ebony Jewelwing flashing from a shady forest stream.
Main Phone: (903) 838-8781
Rocky Point Park Phone: (903) 796-2419
Piney Point Park Phone: (903) 796-0684
Clear Springs Phone: (903) 838-8636
Cass County Park
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 15.0 miles. Turn right (west) on CR 3660 and continue west 0.4 miles to CR 3659. Turn left on CR 3659 and continue 0.3 miles to CR 3551. Turn right (west) on CR 3551 and go 1.4 miles to CR 3558. Turn right (north) on CR 3558 and continue 1.1 miles to Cass County Park.
Cass County Park is home to a variety of wildlife ranging from the energetic Fox and Gray Squirrels to the handsome Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and inquisitive Pine Warbler. Check the open fields around the park for Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins foraging for worms and insects. The park is a good place to compare and differentiate between the shape, size and call of American and Fish Crows. Common dragonflies in the area include Widow Skimmer and Eastern Pondhawk, while prevalent butterflies include Spicebush Swallowtail and occasionally Funereal Duskywing. In the late afternoon, look for Purple Martins and Cliff and Barn Swallows as they gather over the water to feed.
Phone: (903) 796-9254
Atlanta State Park
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 21.5 miles to FM 96. Go west on FM 96 for 7.0 miles to FM 1154. Turn right (north) on FM 1154 and follow it 1.6 miles to PR 42. Follow PR 42 for 0.2 miles into Atlanta State Park.
This beautiful state park on Lake Wright Patman offers seasonal colors, variable terrain, pine forests and great sunsets. Caddo Indians, the most culturally advanced tribe in Texas, once made this area their home. The park offers lake swimming, a nature trail and a 5-mile hiking trail, boating, and fishing. Camping, picnicking and biking are also popular activities.
In addition to the numerous woodland species such as Yellow-throated Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager and Great-crested Flycatcher, a resident pair of Bald Eagles and their offspring frequent the park year round. The shoreline provides habitat for Killdeer and other shorebirds in migration as well as local scavengers such as Black Vultures and American and Fish Crows. The numerous vantage points to scan the reservoir make for excellent waterfowl watching in the winter. Check in moist areas along the lakeshore for American Snout butterfly.
Phone: (903) 796-6476, Atlanta SP
Queen City Outdoor Learning Center
From I 30 in Texarkana, take Exit 220A for US 59 South. Follow US 59 South 22.1 miles to Loop 236. Turn right (east) on Loop 236 and travel approximately 0.5 miles to FM 74. Turn right (east) on FM 74 and follow it 1.1 miles to the sign for Queen City Elementary School. Turn left at the sign and follow to the pond.
This outdoor learning center has been developed over the years through the activities of local elementary and high school students. Bird and bat houses as well as other environmental projects augment the numerous plantings. Habitats include a small pond and woodland. Highlights of the site include flocks of Brown-headed Nuthatches in the pines that tower above the gardens, Belted Kingfishers rattling across the pond, and the constant singing of Pine Warblers and Orchard Orioles. The pond provides habitat for resident Canada Geese and can attract migrant waterfowl from time to time. Other wildlife to look for includes Killdeer, Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Fox Squirrels, and Giant Swallowtails.
Queen City ISD Phone: (903) 796-8256, www.rbetc.org