Day Trips: Cattail Marsh, Beaumont
Nature preserve offers up amazing sights
Cattail Marsh, on the western edge of Beaumont, has somewhere around 200 resident alligators. The wetlands are really a wastewater treatment plant disguised as a nature preserve. The gravel trails are levees around filtration cells or ponds that also provide prime habitats for the alligators and other wildlife in the tall grasses.
Dogs and horses are welcome to join the bikers and hikers following the trails along Hillebrandt Bayou. There are more than 900 acres of wildlife habitat to explore at the water treatment facility.
There is nothing noticeable that indicates this is a water treatment system for the city other than a sign at the gate. After being filtered at a nearby plant, the water is run through the ponds before joining the bayou. A by-product of the process is a wildlife sanctuary.
The sights at the nature preserve are amazing. Water birds fish among the thick clusters of cattails and bulrush that can grow up to 10 feet tall. When startled, the ducks run across the water before taking flight. There is even a pair of American bald eagles nesting in a pine tree on the opposite bank of the bayou.
The wetland is part of Tyrrell Park, which includes the botanical gardens, picnic areas, and a golf course.
Cattail Marsh is a short distance south of I-10 at the Walden Road exit in Beaumont. Admission to the trails is free during daylight hours. For information, go to www.beaumontcvb.com under "Things to Do/City Parks."
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