Get to Know Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge

Hello Everyone! It’s Michael again.

My worksite is Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge (TRNWR) in Texas.

Our refuge is composed of 30,000 thousand acres of bottomland hardwood forests, spread across ten units along the Trinity River. Being along the river, much of the refuge lies in a floodplain and periodically becomes inaccessible.

The many bottomland forests of TRNWR are the preferred habitat of the Rafinesque Big-eared Bat, a species considered of special concern by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Our swamps, lakes, and forests are also important habitats for migratory birds. At our refuge, you might also see bald eagles, American alligators, alligator snapping turtles, roseate spoonbills, armadillos, deer, and many other animals.

The native forests here are threatened by invasive plant species like trifoliate orange (Citrus trifoliata), giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta), and Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera). We do routine management and removal of these species to protect our native forests.

The central refuge office is located in the city of Liberty, Texas along with two trailheads: Great Egret’s Ridge and Knobby Knees.

Knobby Knees Trail

The Knobby Knees trailhead is the start of a series of looping trails that take you along rivers, lakes, bayous, and backroads. The name ‘Knobby Knees’ comes from the many tall jutting roots of the cypress trees that line the trail. If you’re as lucky as I am, along this trail you can see boar, deer, orbweaver spiders, and stick insects!

Champion Lake

At the southern end of the refuge’s property, you’ll find Champion Lake. The lake is open for fishing, boating, kayaking, duck hunting, birdwatching, and sightseeing from the pier and boardwalk that overlooks the lake. Also at Champion Lake, there is a trail system that traces the lake’s edge and plunges deep into the forest. Nearby, there is a pollinator garden which attracts bees, birds, and butterflies.

I’ve only seen a fraction of the 30,000 acres this refuge has to offer. I’m sure there’s much more still to explore!

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