Mineola (near Dallas) was declared the “Birding Capital of East Texas” by the Texas Legislature in 2003. The Mineola Nature Preserve is a new park that the town hopes will attract birders.
Handbook of Texas Online
MINEOLA, TEXAS. Mineola is at the crossing of U.S. highways 69 and 80, eighty miles east of Dallas in southwestern Wood County. Before 1873 the place was called Sodom. According to some, Maj. Ira H. Evans, an International-Great Northern Railroad official who laid out the townsite, named the town for his daughter, Ola, and a friend, Minnie Patten. Others say the name originated when Major Rusk, a surveyor for the I-GN, combined his daughter’s name with that of Minna Wesley Patten. The town came into existence when the railroads built lines through this part of the state. In 1873 the Texas and Pacific and the I-GN raced to see which could get to Mineola first. The I-GN reached the finish fifteen minutes earlier. A city government was organized in 1873, a post office opened in 1875, and the town incorporated in 1877, but a fire in the 1880s destroyed eighteen buildings.
City of Mineola Texas
“The Birding Capital of East Texas”
Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine
A small East Texas town hopes to become a birders’ paradise.
By Erica H. Brasseux
“If we preserve it, they will come.” This excerpt from the brochure for the Mineola Nature Preserve accurately describes the vision behind the city’s seven-year planning efforts for the preserve. Home to about 5,600 people, this small East Texas town now has big bragging rights. The 3,000-acre preserve, which opened in April 2006, is one of the 25 largest city-owned parks in the nation.
City officials are hopeful that the new preserve will assist Mineola in becoming a destination city for people outside the region and outside the state. Designated the “Birding Capital of East Texas,” it’s destined to become a hotspot for people who enjoy birdwatching, wildlife and nature photography, hiking and walking.
Mineola Nature Preserve
This is the official site of the Friends of the Mineola Nature Preserve, Mineola Texas.
The 2,900-acre Preserve is on the Sabine River in East Texas.
The park, funded in part by Texas Parks & Wildlife and the City of Mineola, was created to preserve a wetlands area for bird-watching, hiking, fishing, picnicking and other activities.
Phase I construction (completed July, 2006) includes a pavilion overlooking a wildlife viewing area, three miles of walking and nature trails, a canoe rest station, a picnic area and a playground. The property also includes a pond stocked with fish.
The park is open daily from 7 am to sunset.
Official Capital Designations - Texas State Library
Birding Capital of East Texas
House Concurrent Resolution No. 281, 78th Legislature, Regular Session (2003)
By: Hughes H.C.R. No. 219
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The City of Mineola is developing the Mineola Preserve on the Sabine River to protect and enhance a richly diverse natural area; and
WHEREAS, Containing 2,921 acres, the preserve offers an unusual opportunity for birders to view, within the boundaries of one site, the avian fauna of several different East Texas ecotypes; visitors to the Mineola Preserve can wander through a patchwork landscape composed of uplands, lowland pastures, young bottomland and mature bottomland forests, and successional woodlands; and
WHEREAS, This wide range of habitat and vegetation types is capable of attracting as many as 218 different species of birds; to date, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has verified the occurrence of 75 species, and it is continuing verification work at the site to develop a comprehensive listing; and
WHEREAS, Among the native or migratory species present at the preserve may be some that are now considered to be “threatened”; one such species is the swallow‑tailed kite, a bird listed by TPWD as threatened in Texas and a species of concern for bird initiatives in the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture; swallow‑tailed kites have been observed at the nearby Old Sabine Bottom Wildlife Management Area, making it highly likely that they can be sighted in the Mineola Preserve; and
WHEREAS, A master plan for conserving and promoting the area is in development by several governmental and nongovernmental organizations, including Ducks Unlimited and the Audubon Society; and
WHEREAS, In order to make the tract and its treasures accessible to the public, amenities will include a variety of trails and a number of wildlife viewing stations; complementing the gravel trails will be a two‑mile‑long all‑weather path along a raised, abandoned railroad bed, which traverses each of the preserve’s ecotypes; discussion is also underway regarding the possibility of establishing an Audubon Center at the site; and
WHEREAS, The Mineola Preserve has been nominated for inclusion on the new Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail; a project of the TPWD, the trail is designed to help travelers find the best wildlife‑viewing sites in North and East Texas; and
WHEREAS, Affording ample opportunities for recreation, inspiration, and research to all who cherish the out‑of‑doors, the Mineola Preserve constitutes an exceptionally valuable asset to birders, and the City of Mineola is committed to protecting this property for the education and enjoyment of all Texans and visitors to the Lone Star State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate Mineola as the official Birding Capital of East Texas.
COMMITTEE AMENDMENT NO. 1
Amend H.C.R. No. 219 as follows:
(1) On page 2, line 22, between “Texas” and the period insert “until January 31, 2005”
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, December 11, 2006 • Permalink