In the late 1980s when land conservation in Texas was still in its relatively early days, Ivy Payne, of Elkhart, Texas, knew she had something special, but she worried about what would happen to her property after she was no longer around to take care of it. Described as a “witty friend and a feisty protector of living things”, she wanted to protect her property and the wildlife habitat that it provided. So, she decided to donate it to Texas Land Conservancy (TLC), at the time known as Natural Area Preservation Association (NAPA).
Ivy Payne Wildlife Refuge was the sixth and, at 465 acres, the largest property that TLC had protected up to that point. TLC was thrilled to accept the donation of this lovely property that represented so well the character and diversity of the East Texas Pineywoods. With already established trails, many of them arriving at the “teacup”, a waterfall on Spring Branch creek, Ivy Payne Wildlife Refuge was a perfect place for visitors to experience the beauty of nature.
In the 31 years that have followed since Ms. Payne’s gift, TLC has protected over 110 additional properties in sixty counties, but Ivy Payne Wildlife Refuge still holds a special place in the hearts of all of us at TLC, and we are excited to share it with you!
The weekend of April 6-8, concurrent with the last weekend of the Dogwood Trails Celebration in nearby Palestine, we are opening up the property for a camping weekend! Twenty minutes south of Palestine, the refuge is a great place to basecamp from while you enjoy the festival or other outdoor activities in the area.
Come join us for camping Friday and/or Saturday night, and enjoy access to the preserve, guided hikes, and time around the campfire with s’mores!