E.O. Siecke State Forest –1,722 Acres
The original 1,722 acres of what was initially called State Forest #1 were acquired in 1924 by the Forestry Department of Texas A&M University (now called Texas A&M Forest Service). Much of the property was cutover and severely burned; reforestation efforts began immediately. In 1946, the use of an adjacent, 100-acre tract for tree improvement and silviculture research was negotiated through a 99-year lease with the Southwestern Settlement and Development Corporation.
In 1926, the first fire lookout tower in Texas was constructed by TFS personnel; the first pine seedling nursery in the state was established; the agency began a silvicultural research program; and the first operational planting of slash pine was also conducted. The tower and remnants of the first slash pine plantation exist today.
In 1933, a large Civilian Conservation Corps camp was constructed on the forest. At that time, TFS planned and supervised the work of approximately 3,000 enrollees at seventeen such camps across East Texas. By 1956, many of the buildings had fallen into a state of disrepair and were dismantled.
As a direct result of the silvicultural research programs on the forest, the largest yellow pine newsprint mill in the South was opened in nearby Lufkin in 1939. Under various owners, the mill operated continually for nearly 65 years, contributing billions of dollars in goods, services and wages to the economy of Texas.
Beginning in 1946, the forest hosted annual youth forestry short courses and summer camps for 4-H youth and adult leaders. The camps were a joint effort between the Texas Forest Service, Texas Forestry Association, Texas Vocational Agriculture Department, and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. This program was discontinued in 1988 in favor of the Teachers Conservation Institute.
In 1951, State Forest #1 was dedicated the E.O. Siecke State Forest, recognizing the contributions of the second director and state forester, Eric O. Siecke. A number of dignitaries were on hand at the ceremony, including Texas Governor Alan Shivers.
Over the years, silvicultural and research studies included: prescribed burning, wood preservative treating, direct seeding, use of forestry chemicals, seed production, grazing, pruning, forest fertilization, geographic seed sources, forest thinning, small woodlot management and reforestation. A number of publications and educational materials were produced as a result of these activities. The Siecke remains a shining example of a productive, working forest.
Forest resource education and nature study tours are available by appointment.
Historic fire tower
Oldest Slash Pine Stand in Texas
Forest management demonstration sites exist throughout this forest
This forest is open year-round during daylight hours. Limited access by vehicle. Texas state forests are game sanctuaries with no firearms or hunting permitted.
Kirbyville District Office located at the state forest on FM 82, 4.5 miles SE of Kirbyville Monday–Friday
8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Restrooms are available at this location during listed days and times.