The sprawling, 1900-acre River Ranch is located near the town of West Columbia, Texas, just 60 miles southeast of Houston. The concrete and skyscrapers of the nation's fourth largest city quickly give way to rare remnants of the Columbia Bottomlands hardwood forest along the coast. River Ranch is bordered by both Highway 36 and the meandering Brazos River, a waterway once used by Spanish pirates, and later a valuable resource to Texas' earliest Anglo settlers in the early 1800s. Today this land is valued as an untouched and spectacular natural landscape within close reach of many urban dwellers.
The rich forests and wetlands draw wildlife and birds to the area, which is encompassed by the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. Recreational birders flock to the refuge each year to enjoy the spectacle of wintering waterfowl and migrating neotropical songbirds. In April 2013, The Trust for Public Land transferred this property to the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. To date, we have helped protect over 8,000 acres of this rare forest ecosystem.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.