Boggy Slough: A Forest, a Family, and a Foundation for Land Conservation

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Texas A&M University Press, 2022 - HISTORY - 376 pages
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Boggy Slough Conservation Area is a 19,000-acre unbroken tract of pine and bottomland hardwood forest situated in East Texas' Trinity and Houston counties. More than twenty miles of the Neches River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the state, serves as the eastern boundary, and for more than a century the land has been one of the state's leading game and industrial forest management areas.

A unique blend of natural, cultural, and business history, Boggy Slough presents a highly illustrated narrative of the land, people, and evolving purpose, from time of European contact to the present. Gerland traces the many phases of land use in this forest as it transitioned from hunting, gathering, fishing, and subsistence farming to an experimental mix of stock raising and large-scale commercial forestry, eventually becoming important conservation land along the Neches River Corridor. Gerland explores the natural features and adaptive land use practices of the region as well as the environmental history of railroads and logging camps, barbed wire fences and company cattle ranches, and exclusive hunting clubs.

The underlying story is the evolution and environmental impact of Southern Pine Lumber Company, founded in 1893 by T. L. L. Temple. Now owned and maintained by the fifth generation of the Temple family, the Boggy Slough lands are the last remnants of what was once a 1.2 million-acre forest empire. Gerland examines the family's and the lumber company's struggles to grow and manage a second-, third-, and fourth-generation forest, ultimately achieving sustainability while managing changing environmental concerns and attitudes.

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About the author (2022)

JONATHAN K. GERLAND is executive director of the History Center in Diboll, Texas, where he has served for twenty-three years. He is the author of Steam in the Pines: A History of the Texas State Railroad, fellow of the East Texas Historical Association, and editor/publisher of Pine Bough Magazine.

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