Southern Region Viewing Area

LOCATION and PHOTOS

Mesic Ravines in Sandy Creek.
Mesic Ravines in Sandy Creek, Sabine National Forest. Photo by Thomas Philipps.

Scarlet Beardtongue.
Scarlet Beardtongue is found within the adjacent xeric sandhill community. Photo by Thomas Philipps.

October flower.
October flower is one of the latest blooming species within Sandy Creek Ravines. Photo by Thomas Philipps.

Sandy Creek Ravines

Forest: National Forests and Grasslands in Texas

District: Sabine National Forest

Description: Sandy Creek Ravines features a transition from open, dry mixed oak sandhills to dry-mesic slope forest and mesic American beech-oak forest. The deep sands of the Carrizo formation (Eocene age) surface on the upland ridge near Texas Highway 147. A small-uncut portion of a sandhill community features numerous xeric sandhill forbs. Noteworthy sandhill forbs, some of which are West Gulf Coastal Plain endemic plants, include spreading loeflingia (Loeflingia squarrosa), Drummond nailwort (Paronychia drummondii), woolywhite (Hymenopappus artemisiifolius), curly threeawn (Aristida desmantha), Georgia sunrose (Helianthemum georgianum), Reverchon spiderwort (Tradescantia reverchonii), green-eyes (Berlandiera x betonicifolia), scarlet beardtongue (Penstemon murrayanus), sand milkvine (Matelea cynanchoides), and sand scurfpea (Psoralea subulata).

A dry-mesic mixed hardwood forest occurs below the sandhill on the Wilcox group on ravine slopes. Several oaks (Quercus pagoda, Q. falcata, and Q. shumardii), basswood (Tilia americana), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) reach the canopy on these slopes. Overstory trees on lower mesic slopes include American beech (Fagus grandifolia), white oak (Quercus alba), bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and, to a limited extent, southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).

Eared goldenrod (Solidago auriculata) and tuberous gromwell (Lithospermum tuberosum) are two plants that are typically habitat specific, southeastern calciphilic forest elements in southeastern Texas. The presence of these calciphilic (calcium loving) plants at a site along with a rich mesic vernal forest flora is a rare condition in southeastern Texas. The high habitat diversity and rich vernal calciphilic flora make Sandy Creek Ravine a botanically significant site.

Safety First: Be watchful for things that can bite you, sting you, or give you a rash. There are several species of poisonous snakes in the area, although they are not common, as well as the possibilities for tick and mosquito bites. Make sure you wear protective clothing and use repellent whenever possible. There are also several different species on poisonous plants occurring here, including poison ivy and poison sumac. Learn how to identify these plants and DO NOT TOUCH! If you do come into contact with these plants make sure to wash the area as soon as possible thoroughly. Be watchful for stump holes on the ground below you and hanging limbs from trees above you. Always remember to check in with the District Ranger Station to obtain any information about planned prescribed burning in the area. A nice day in the woods can be very enjoyable as long as we keep these hazards in mind and always remember "Safety First".

Directions: East of TX 147, 1.5 miles north of jct. with FM 1279, ca 0.1 to 0.5 miles north of San Augustine County line, ca 2.8 miles south of McClelland (Shelby County).

Ownership and Management: US Forest Service. National Forests and Grasslands in Texas. Sabine National Forest.

Closest Town: San Augustine, Texas.