Natural Texas

- Established in 1981 -Stewardship, Conservation, & Care

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Bellville, Texas - Land Restoration

Restoring Texas Land Naturally: A Multi-faceted Approach

A 288-acre ranch in Bellville, Texas needed to have land cleared so a crew could repair a fence on the property line. I was hired for three days to clear the area adjacent to the fence. When I drove in from Austin the owner, the surveyor, the neighbor (who leases the pasture) and the fence guy were there. I could tell they didn’t know what to think about forestry mowing (I heard the fence guy say he was afraid he would get flats; the surveyor was agreeing and the rancher was noncommittal).

I worked from one corner of the fence line (the fence was was mostly lying on the ground) to a corner right in the center of a creek bed while they watched expectantly. In 30-45 minutes I had cleared to the creek. The rancher said “My sons and I couldn’t have cleared that much by hand in a month!” I drove my Tacoma over the mulch and said “I’ve been driving over mulch for ten years in my Tacoma and have never had a flat.” That took care of the fence guy’s anxieties, and was the beginning of these guys becoming advocates of Natural Texas forestry mowing.

The next two days I cleared as close to the creek as possible (allowing for gullies, washes and the likes) and got to the next property corner on the creek. I worked gradually with my crew--keeping in mind the choices and their implications concerning the land that the owner and I had discussed--and produced the visibility that created accessibility to the fence. As I finished up the 3rd evening, I punched out a second entrance.

The end effect was more than just a route for the fence person to drive and with tools, t-posts. It was a gorgeous trail, a mosaic of tall trees and brush with lots of opening for excellent wild life habitat.

The owners returned with their friends, trailers, and horses and immediately took off into their broad new trail. By the time they came out the second entrance, they had decided to continue the work. The continued work was beyond the focus of the fence trail. I created several more entrances and openings, leaving or reducing large dead fall to benefit wildlife habitat. At the end of the sixth day Natural Texas had modified 20 acres.

Work was extended two more weeks to put in 75% more mixed wooded and pasture trails. Riders could now ford or jump creeks, sometimes riding single file, sometimes three abreast, by deer blinds and food plots. At the end of the trail for fence repair we got to a second, year-round creek. The owner and I discussed a trail with a view of that creek to the pasture, and Natural Texas began work on that . This left a big area untouched. We decided on a circle trail connecting two short cut trails, which provided two more entrances. (This added 4 more days.) The end result was that riders now had a smorgasbord of choices of where they would go riding each day!

This giant cedar tree by the fenceline remains.

Here is a feeder by the creek.

One of 5 entrances to a 3-mile tree-canopied trail for equestrians, hikers, and ATV enthusiasts.

Along the fenceline, we created a fire break.

Here we left some dead trees for wildlife habitat.

Long evening shadows create drama on this pasture trail.

This entry point to the trail starts from the house.

A shady trail in the woods.

This food plot will be an attraction for wildlife.

 Forest and Land Management

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Believe it or not, the clearing that you helped me with has been holding well. I have had it shredded a couple of times and the grass is really taking hold. Now have about 20 good sized pecan trees beginning to branch out as they now have access to sun and space. Looks like a well kept orchard. Thank you again for a great job and for staying in touch. May all your jobs turn out as well as mine did. Jim.

Sommerville, Texasread more

Carl, we want you to know how much we are enjoying the results of your crew's work. They were wonderful to work with and the end results were better than we hoped for. Again thank you.

Brenham, TXread more