Welcome to the LBJ Grasslands Project

We are a community of people with a love of the land, water, plants and animals of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands in Wise County (and a little of Montague County) in north Texas. The project is co-founded and led by Michael Smith and Kayla West, two naturalists and writers.

What are the LBJ National Grasslands?

The LBJ National Grasslands (“LBJG,” for short) might not fit everyone’s image of grasslands. You will find big open areas of native grasses, but not the long, all-the-way-to-the-horizon expanses you would expect in the Texas panhandle. Instead, the LBJG is located in an area ecologically known as the “Western Cross Timbers,” and in fact it was first known as the “Cross Timbers National Grasslands.” The Cross Timbers are belts of oak woodland running south to north through north Texas and up through Oklahoma to southern Kansas and a little of Arkansas (the Ancient Cross Timbers Consortium provides a map). 

The Cross Timbers is often described as a mosaic of oak woodland and prairie openings and meadows. The native grasses include little bluestem and Indiangrass, beautiful prairie grasses that may grow waist-high or taller. The trees are dominated by post oak and blackjack oak, species that are often relatively short with many curves and bends in the branches. They are tough and able to withstand lower rainfall and periods of drought. The dense stands of oak, other trees, and understory shrubs were described by early travelers as the “cast iron forest.”

The LBJ National Grasslands are 20,250 acres of public lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. Our project is not affiliated with the Forest Service. We hope to be an asset to the LBJG and to the agency that takes care of it.

What do we do?

You can follow the activities of the project’s community on Facebook, as the “LBJ Grasslands Project,” currently including 242 members. It is a private group that is happy to welcome new members who share its purpose and values. The LBJG project encourages the visiting and study of the LBJ National Grasslands in a way that preserves its natural integrity and the safety of all who visit or live there. For example, the Forest Service allows hunting and fishing there, but the project’s activities do not involve hunting or fishing. Our aim is to leave the woods and prairies like we found them. 

Michael and Kayla lead small group walks there, to see and better understand the species that live there, and to practice nature journaling or mindfulness. There is no charge for participating. We would be glad to have you go with us on one of our scheduled walks. You can request information and sign up for activities within the Facebook group or by using the form on our Contact page.

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