As we are about to step foot onto the boardwalk something just out of sight slides through the cattails and into the dark water. We lean over the rail to try to catch a glimpse, but whatever it was is gone, leaving only a ripple in it’s wake. At over 2,000 acres, the wetlands are home to a myriad of wildlife; bobcats, otters, frogs and more all share the space with native and migrating birds which have come to rely on the manmade wetlands. Ducks, geese and other waterfowl moved in early on, and a pair of bald eagles have nested here since 2010. Behind us stands the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, a building that looks as if it grew out of the earth instead of being constructed, and serves as classrooms for field trips and eco-classes. Here it’s easy to forget we are less than 30 minutes from Downtown Dallas, and standing in a once poorly drained pasture in the Trinity River basin until rancher and conservationist John Bunker Sands was inspired to create something more with the land. A red-winged blackbird can be heard across the water, and we look up just in time to see the sun catch his red feathers and momentarily sparkles like a jewel. We walk on, forgetting what we missed and eagerly anticipating the possibilities of what we might see on the trail.
Know Before You Go
It’s a wetland, and as such it can be wet. Wear shoes you aren’t afraid to get wet, that are comfortable for a good walk!
Avoid insect repellent around the sensitive wetlands, especially those with DEET.
Pack a lunch and take advantage of the picnic tables near the boardwalk, or bring a blanket and spread it out under one of the big trees near the road.
Restrooms are available in the center.
Today the wetlands are much more than just a smart pasture. Water is diverted from the Trinity River to be naturally “cleansed”, and then sent back up to Lake Lavon in Collin County for reuse. Click HERE to learn more about this amazing process!
The boardwalk and marsh area are a great hike during the Fall Season. Keep your eyes to the skies to spot the nesting bald eagles from mid-October to March!
The boardwalk takes you across the marsh to trails on the other side. It’s amazing how many things you can see on a walking tour.
The wetlands have also become the winter nesting grounds for a pair of Bald Eagles. They originally built their nest on a huge transmission tower.
But several years ago, a new tower was erected by Oncor near their old site, and the tower arm and their nest was relocated to this safer site!
Use the telescope in the Nature Center for an up-close look of the eagle nest!
Each year the Wetlands has an Eagle-cam, which allows for 24-7 observation of the nest.
Each month you can join the JMS Wetlands on the First Saturday for a guided Wild Bird Walk, where you can learn how to identify birds and create or add-on to your life list.
The 3rd Saturday guided walk is the Bunker’s Pond Trail, a 1.8 mile loop. This is great for families who want to learn about the flora and fauna of the area.
The before and after a cattail releases its seeds to the wind! Cattails are amazing plants, and each flower head contains about 30,000 seeds! The entire plant can be eaten, and roasted cattail heads are nutty and delicious, but don’t take my word for it, click HERE for a great link with recipes!
Things To Do Nearby
Take your adrenaline junkies to the Trinity Forest Adventure Park, or just spend the day exploring the Southern Cross Ranch. Click HERE to read more.
The Trinity River Audubon Center has an interpretive center, hiking, picnic areas and even paddling opportunities on the Trinity River. Click HERE to read more.
The Post Oak Preserve is a 335 acre preserve located at 1501 Bowers Rd. in Seagoville, with over 2 miles of hiking on natural surface trails. Click HERE to read more.
John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center
655 Martin Lane, Seagoville
Click HERE for more information.
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