Red-Cockaded Woodpecker LbNA # 20843
|Placed Date||Mar 15 2006|
I.D. Fairchild State Forest is the largest of the state forests in Texas. Located in Maydelle, it spreads over 2,740 acres. A working forest, Fairchild is an excellent example of how a healthy forest can thrive in a culture that sometimes seems bent on destroying its natural resources.
Many Cherokee County residents don't even know Fairchild Forest is in their midst. I only heard about it myself last year, but it has become one of my favorite hiking places. We often take off after work and go walk until dark there. It isn't fancy and it doesn't draw attention to itself, but it is home to many of God's creatures and so provides something new and interesting at every turn of the trail.
I suggest you carry a walking stick with you in the forest because parts of it are very remote and we've often seen evidence of large animals. Common in the area are wild hogs and several wild cat species. Also, as Black Bear are returning to East Texas, Fairchild is a likely area to find them (but they are very timid unless provoked - so don't provoke them!). Fearless Fox and Lightning and their hiking partners once saw a very unusual species of cat believed to be a jaguarundi, which would have been out of its normal habitat. If the thought of running up on any of these animals concerns you, please read up on them before you visit Fairchild so that you know proper etiquette in their home.
Also welcome in the forest is the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, which nests in Fairchild, so keep your eyes peeled for a sighting. And hence, this box.
From Rusk, take Highway 84 West toward Palestine. After passing through Maydelle, watch for a brown sign on the right side of the road that indicates that you are entering I D Fairchild State Forest. You will also see a highway department sign that indicates an I.D. Fairchild Wildlife Viewing Area. If you pass that sign you will have gone too far.
At the I.D. Fairchild entrance, there is a dirt road that veers Northwest off the highway. There is sufficient parking to safely park your car off the road, so park there instead of going down the dirt road (you can only take your vehicle so far and there is nowhere to park but on the road). Begin your trek down this road.
As you follow the road to the NW, it will soon veer to the North. Looking ahead, you will see the top of a small hill in the road. Continue along the road to the top of the hill, then begin watching on your left for a wide trail. Take the trail to the left and continue along it. It will wind around a bit, and you will eventually come to the edge of a ravine and the trail will take you down into the ravine. Continue through the ravine and to the top of the next hill, immediately after the ravine. As you reach the top of the hill, stop. Put yourself into position so you are standing next to a pine tree on your right that is about one long step off the trail. On the other side of that tree is a hardwood about two steps from the pine. Look behind the hardwood tree for the box.
As with many of the trails through Fairchild, the end of this one is a little vague, so I suggest that unless you have plenty of time to hike and you have a compass, you return the same way you came.
Your round trip will be about 1 mile if you follow the same path back.