Attention fellow hikers and bikers! We have recently discovered that we have a colony of endangered Golden-cheeked Warblers that have been regularly visiting Bee Suck Hollow! We have contacted 3 world class Golden-cheeked Warbler experts who have visited the hollow over many years and they confirm the good news. All have participated in habitat preservation in the past. Golden-cheeked Warbler sightings in Bell County have been dropping in recent years so it is especially important that we help preserve this unique and precious Texas bird found right in our own back yards.

Photo courtesy of G. Eckrich

As a result of this you will be seeing a few changes in the trail going along the east side of the hollow, starting a little bit south of Green Pond and going northward into the hollow. The general hope is to create a wonderful habitat that will invite more of these beautiful birds to come and stay without significantly impacting on all the great folks who visit the nature center! The policy is evolving but so far we have decided to do a few simple things. The first one was to begin enforcement on the no-bike trails in that area keeping in mind that no trail bike designations have been changed! As you travel north from the old bridge on the old Tenneesee Valley Road (Prairie Loop) look for a new sign high up on a tree on the right hand path at the big fork in the trail. This will let you know when you are going directly into the special habitat area along the east bluffs.

The second thing we have started to do is to begin blocking the trails going directly into their newfound habitat along the east side of Bee Suck Hollow. These are not actually official trails and were not put in by nature center workers so that is why they are not shown on our many maps. No trails on any of the maps are being closed. The bench area above the east bluffs is being used by these birds as a feeding area so we need to ask folks to avoid that area as well. So the new trail up the east bluff now has a fence and sign briefly explaining why that trail needs to be closed.

We hope to post educational signs in the Warbler area fairly soon!

There is another very important safety consideration that all who use the Bee Suck Hollow (east side) trail should be made aware of. There have been two places where large chunks of the bluff have recently collapsed into the creek ravine. One of them had a major piece of the old trail on it. Fortunately, last year we moved the trail away from there to eliminate that danger. There are other spots on the trail that are close to the ravine edge and that is a very important additional reason why we prefer that bikers should avoid this trail. A third important reason is the rocky nature of the trail makes biking more problematic in that area. Putting all of those reasons together you can see why we now believe it is best to begin enforcing the no-biking on that trail.

Hikers should of course take special care, especially with young or rambunctious children.

We hope to move further short sections of the trail to make it completely safe for everyone so you can expect to see volunteers working in that area in the future. Safety always comes first with us!