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Nature

The park sits on the northern edge of the Big Thicket, and just south of where the Angelina and Neches rivers meet. As a result, an extraordinary web of life exists here. You’ll see a wide variety of plants and animals in the park, in the water, and in the neighboring Angelina-Neches/Dam B Wildlife Management Area.

Collage of Dragonfly, Mexican buckeye and frog on a limb

Unique blend of animals

A unique mix of animals lives in the lowland swamps and forest country.

You might see white-tailed deer, raccoons, Virginia opossums, nine-banded ar­ma­dillos, and three different squirrel species. More rarely seen are red and gray foxes and bobcats.

When the sun sets during warmer months, 14 different species of bats take flight catching insects.

alligatorThe park sits on the bank of the vast and scenic B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. Reptiles and am­phi­bians inhabit the park’s nu­mer­ous sloughs (creeks). The American alligator lives in all bodies of water in the park, as do a vast array of turtles. You’ll hear frogs singing at night.

Watch for skinks and lizards scurrying on the forest floor when you hike.

Many different species of snakes live in the park; most are non-venomous. However, five venomous snakes do live in the Piney­woods: Texas coral snake, southern copperhead, western cottonmouth, canebrake rattlesnake (a threatened species), and western pigmy rattlesnake.

Safety notes

Please stay on designated park trails to avoid meeting snakes.

Follow proper alligator etiquette so you and the alligator stay safe.

Bird haven

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is located along the southern migration route for many bird species, and birders can check off rare species here.

Look for egrets, herons, anhinga and other waterfowl in the park and on the lake. In the summer, the American swallow-tailed kites entertain with their soaring ac­ro­batics. Bald eagles also live around the lake in summer.

Listen for the unmistakable call of the pileated woodpecker as it glides through the treetops. Enjoy the soft chatter of the nu­mer­ous other species of forest birds as you walk and paddle.

Forest plants

Forest in the fall with orange leavesThe park is in the heart of the forest coun­try. Lofty lob­lolly, long­leaf and shortleaf pines are abundant. Bald cypress trees dominate the sloughs and tower over the lake.

The mixed pine/hardwood forest contains more tree species than we can list. Many oak species such as white oak, swamp chest­nut oak, water oak and southern red oak dot the landscape. Sweet gum and maples provide fall color against the back­drop of evergreens. Southern mag­nolia trees perfume the woods with large white blooms.

Closeup of trillium plantLook for American beauty­berry, wax myrtle, yaupon holly and many more plants growing under the trees.

Download a free booklet on the Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines, Martin Dies Jr. State Park. Take it with you on the 1.35-mile Forest Trail to learn about plants found in the park. You can also purchase a tree identification field guide at the park store.

Learn more at Pineywoods Wildlife Management.

Wilderness

The Angelina-Neches/Dam B Wildlife Management Area is next to Martin Dies, Jr. State Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Texas Parks and Wildlife work together to manage the water and land resources of this wilderness.

With the proper permits, you can hunt, fish, camp, bike ride, hike and view wildlife at the WMA.

Learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undeveloped camping areas