About Acton Nature Center
Acton Nature Center
The Acton Nature Center of Hood County is open to anyone who enjoys the peace and quiet of nature at its finest. Trails will lead you around the center to view the “seasonal”, natural pond filled with croaking frogs. To a heavily shaded ravine where you will find a large old Live Oak tree spreading its branches as if to welcome you in.
The spring offers you a cascade of brightly colored wildflowers filling the property. In the center you will find the a fully functional windmill that is now the source of water for the remains of an abandoned water well that was used to water the livestock that roamed this center many years ago. Leading to the windmill is the Elizabeth Crockett Butterfly Trail that is handicap safe and directs you through the butterfly garden.
The Texas Master Naturalist, Rio Brazos Chapter have developed many educational programs. Their primary focus is to “maximize the natural history, natural science, landscape and habitat conservation of the area for people to experience and enjoy”. They have worked to restore the over grazed prairie land, built and studied the native bee population, enticed other pollinators, and added the Bird Blind and Bird Habitat area for bird watching enthusiasts. Check back regularly to mark you calendar with the upcoming educational event the Texas Master Naturalist, Rio Brazos Chapter offer throughout the year.
The History of the
Acton Nature Center
In 2004 Hood County Development District #1 (HCDD1) became aware of a 73.96 acre tract of land that was made available to the residents and general public for use as a park through the Department of the Interior, Federal Lands to Parks Program. This land was donated to Hood County, and the county transferred stewardship and development responsibilities to HCDD1. For many years after WWII this Acton property was one of hundreds of sites, nationwide, used by the FAA. This location, known as a VORTAC, is where equipment was placed which told pilots their location. When these sites and equipment became obsolete, the Federal program was enacted. Due to the foresight of the HCDD1 board of directors, a parks committee was formed in early 2005. This committee would report directly to them concerning all aspects of the park development. This park committee is called, Friends of the Acton Nature Center (FoANC). Along with the Rio Brazos chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists, Lake Granbury Master Gardeners, and many other area Volunteers, the design plans began for Acton Nature Center (ANC).
The main objective to the design of ANC has been to maximize the natural history and natural science of the area. Volunteers identified native plants and animals of the property, and recreated the natural habitat to this over grazed prairie. We now can enjoy over 5 miles of trails that have been hand cleared of non-native vegetation. The Travis Hiking Trail has approximately 1.3 miles of mulch covered trails leading to a wildlife overlook and viewing area. Due to its seasonal dryness, this area is used to teach visitors of the importance and preservation of our wetlands. If you continue on the Travis trail, you will come upon the Sam Houston Bridge. This project was more difficult to build than first thought because it stretched over a deep shady ravine which becomes a stream during heavy rains and required extra structural support.
The Bowie Bike Trail is approximately 2.3 miles of mowed hiking, jogging, and mountain bike trails that extend around the perimeter of the park. All trails are marked by numbered stones to prevent getting lost. The San Jacinto Pass leads to our showcase garden. This garden is the Elizabeth Crockett Memorial Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden. A historic Farmhouse was donated and renovated back to the original 1930s style and is now used for educational programs led by the Texas Master Naturalist, Rio Brazos chapter. They have worked very hard on this area creating ½ mile of granite covered trails that are handicap accessible. It leads around a restored windmill that supplies water to an old stock tank and a recently built stock pond. Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists have spread over 100 lbs. of wildflower seeds in this area as well as native butterfly plants, so expect to see a lot of wildflowers and butterflies each spring.
The objective of this facility is to entice individuals to get out doors, away from their computers, and provide them with an orientation to nature and all it has to offer, experience, and enjoy.
The Mission of the
Acton Nature Center
The Acton Nature Center of Hood County will promote a recreational and educational venue for nature enthusiasts of all ages.