I.D. Fairchild State Forest

I.D. Fairchild State Forest

The I.D. Fairchild State Forest is the largest of the five state forests in Texas. The forest is a 2,896-acre forest composed of five tracts. The largest tract is located along U.S. Highway 84, approximately thirteen miles west of Rusk, in Cherokee County.

The forest was originally composed 2,360 acres, which was transferred from the Texas state prison system in 1925 and named for Senator I.D. Fairchild. It was not until 1963, that an additional 536 acres were added to the I.D. Fairchild State Forest. The acreage was acquired from the Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. The area was logged over from 1909 to 1910. Later, during the Great Depression a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was located in the forest.

State forests are a sanctuary where plants and animals can prosper and flourish in their natural surroundings. The I.D. Fairchild State Forest is a refuge for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is one of eight species of woodpeckers that inhabits East Texas. It is a small black-and-white bird, about the size of a cardinal. They can be found in open pine forests with large, widely-spaced older trees which provide the essential habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker. Red-cockaded woodpeckers are endangered largely due to the replacement of large open forests with big, old pine trees with forests containing younger and smaller pines.

The I.D. Fairchild Forest provides fishing, hiking, and picnicking for day use. It is managed by the Texas Forest Service, which is part of the Texas A&M University. State forests are important because they are permanent wildlife refuges, and therefore hunting is strictly prohibited. However, fishing is permitted in certain designated areas. No overnight camping is permitted in any state forest in order to prohibit any possible damage from occurring to the natural ecosystem.



The following are prohibited:

* Littering

* Campfires

* Camping or park use after dark

* Alcoholic beverages

* Pets, except on a leash

* Firearms, hunting, or trapping

* Motorized vehicles, except on state roads

* Mountain biking, except on state roads

* ATV use

Please stay on designated trails.

Trails are designated with trees with white paint

Forest boundaries are designated with red paint


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