Come Together With Nature

Come Together With Nature

Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center

Experience 2,900 acres of landscape as diverse as it is beautiful, where the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and Clear Creek come together. It’s also where colorful wildflower prairies mesh with waterways lined by a canopy of towering cottonwoods. Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center; where the natural community comes together with nature lovers in our community.

The history of the Clear Creek area is a long and colorful one. In 1883, the Denton County Commissioner’s Court purchased 334 acres of the land that now makes up the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Area (CCNHA) to become the Denton County poor farm. The land was sold at auction in 1948 and, in 1959, the Texas Legislature created the Clear Creek Watershed Authority to sponsor the construction of flood control dams on the tributaries of Clear Creek. Today, the City of Denton leases the land from the Army Corps of Engineers.  The City operates and maintains the 2,900 acres with the goal of promoting environmental citizenship through nature experiences, education and research programs, and conservation and restoration projects.

Clear Creek offers the opportunity for multiple age groups to interact with nature and learn about the ecology of our region. It’s a year-round destination for viewing native plants and animals in their natural environment.  Besides the human species, you’ll see other species like the armadillo,great egret, coyote, white-tailed deer, water lilies, snowy primrose wildflower, and cottonwood trees, just to name a few.

Visits to CCNHA have been integrated into the science curriculum for all DISD 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade classes, hosting more than 5,500 students annually. UNT, TWU and NCTC classes regularly meet on site to do projects and conduct research. You’ll also see volunteers from the Elm Fork Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists guiding hikes, building trails, monitoring bluebird boxes and helping to preserve and enhance the habitat for all species to enjoy. With over five miles of trails for hiking, you can experience a variety of ecosystems; from wetlands to bottomland hardwood forests to upland prairies, the diversity of nature is abundant.

Saturday, June 6th is National Trails Day at CCNHA from 8:30 a.m. – 2p.m. Discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewardship projects.  Archery, geocaching and a trail run are only a few of the free activities the entire family can enjoy! Also that same day is the Crazy Coyote 5.4K & 7-mile Trail Run, Butterfly Activity with Explorium Denton, and hiking all day.

Join us for one of our Junior Master Naturalist Camps in the month of June. Campers will enjoy a unique natural science and outdoor experience at CCNHA with Certified Elm Fork Chapter Texas Master Naturalists. Each day will include nature study, themed crafts and outdoor activities. Each day kids must bring a sack lunch and water, and should wear closed-toe shoes, long pants sunscreen and insect repellant. Register online at www.dentonparks.com or call 940-349-7275. Fee is $65 per class week.  Visit www.clearcreekdenton.com for dates and details.

Photography by Angilee Wilkerson

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