Cedar Hill State Park

Nature

The park is refuge to five native tallgrass prairie remnants that are federally listed as endangered. The tallgrass prairie remnants are the most important natural resource in the park. These small remnant prairies are dominated by Indian grass, little bluestem, big bluestem, sideoats gama, switchgrass and many other native grasses. Other plants of interest in the prairie land include rosin-weed, old plainsman, wand milkweed, antelope-horn milkweed, celestials, spiderwort, sensitive briar, purple coneflower, bluebell, blue sage, fleabane, ladies'-tresses, iron weed, Engleman daisy, maximilian sunflower, downy paintbrush, heath aster, trout lily, standing cypress, eryngo and others. Eastern gamma grass was reintroduced by park staff in selected areas, as well as meadow pinks. The Cedar Hill area is unique in that historically it is where two climax ecosystems converge.

The rolling tallgrass prairie and its black clay soil clash with the rugged limestone escarpment. Hundreds of years ago an ancient cedar forest covered the escarpment. It was in that ancient forest that golden-cheeked warblers thrived. Sadly, the golden-cheeked warbler is on the verge of extinction due to habitat destruction. In February 2004, a golden-cheeked warbler was spotted in the park. The tallgrass prairie was once a migratory habitat for the Eskimo curlew, now thought to be extinct. The transition zone between these climax ecosystems was full of brush, interspersed with grasses and small trees that were burned frequently by prairie fires. This was home to the endangered black-capped vireo, last seen in the area in 1993. Overall, the park is dominated by upland forests that include cedar elm, honey locust, mesquite and juniper trees. In the scenic, wooded hills, common animals include bobcats, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, armadillos and raccoons. Lake fishing is good for largemouth bass, white bass, crappie and catfish. The park is also an excellent flyway for Neotropical birds.

Urban Fish and Wildlife Office: Texas Parks and Wildlife's Urban Fish and Wildlife Program seeks to educate citizens about the wildlife of Texas by involving them in activities that benefit wildlife and wildlife habitats. The program consists of a team of five urban biologists scattered throughout the metropolitan areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. These biologists work in cooperation with schools, city governments, civic groups, businesses and private landowners to foster sound land management practices not only within metropolitan areas, but beyond.

Topography: The topography is unique in that the blacklands roll into a towering limestone escarpment. The escarpment has outcrops that run from Mexico to Kansas. The park is reminiscent of the Texas Hill Country, and visitors will forget they are in the Metroplex while visiting Cedar Hill State Park.


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