LETTER: Enjoy a little nature therapy

November 18, 2020

Who doesn’t need some peace and quiet in this complicated year? A wonderful place to relieve stress is just outside of town at the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge, along the Neches River in Anderson and Cherokee counties. The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week, as long as the Neches River is not flooding its roadways. Operated by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge is more than 7,000 acres of bottomland hardwood habitat and a great place for people to observe wildlife and waterfowl.

The Neches Refuge has more than 20 miles of hiking and bicycle trails; some are easy and some are more challenging. Each trailhead off the entrance road has a map and a description of the trail.

Multiple studies have shown the many health benefits of exercising in the outdoors – with fresh air and sunshine. It is known that communication is better walking side by side and with this pandemic, it is safer to socialize in the outdoors. Nature therapy is real and nature is Spiritual. When using the hiking trails, please take only photographs and memories and leave only footprints.

A protected ecosystem and wildlife habitat does not just happen. Supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with developing the Neches Refuge are organizations such as Texas Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Neches Refuge and Friends of the Neches River. As we look toward Thanksgiving Day, may we each be thankful for the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge.

Kim Caraway-Zemer

Dr. Michael Banks

Neches River National Wildlife Refuge