When the Winston family acquired their land near Nacogdoches in the 1980s, much of it had been cut, but not. Ever since it has been carefully restored and transformed into a showplace on how to produce timber and quality wildlife habitat.
Virginia Winston and sons, Simon and Dee, own and operate the 3,400-acre Winston 8 Ranch. It's a verdant medley of pine forest, longleaf pine, open range and wetlands providing food and shelter for white-tailed deer, northern bobwhite quail and wild turkey.
Winston 8 Ranch
The ranch is regularly used for research by the Stephen F. Austin State University's College of Agriculture and Forestry, and by state and federal agencies as a demonstration area on forest management. It is also a destination for educational and recreational opportunities. Through a partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Winstons have hosted students and disabled hunters at special events on the ranch.
Dedicated to sound management principles and stewardship, the Winstons have implemented an active wildlife habitat improvement program that involves timber management, prescribed burning, invasive species control, and native habitat restoration. The family uses prescribed burning to reduce the threat of wildfires and to provide habitat for wildlife.
Winston 8 Ranch
They have restored 180 acres of native longleaf pine, thinned more than 700 acres of loblolly pine to promote forest health, and cleared and seeded 93 acres for native grass and forbs. Interspersed throughout the upland open pine habitat are more than 500 acres of riparian/wetland habitat and about 90 acres of native grasses and forbs growing in openings and on pipeline right-of-ways.
“The Winston legacy and dedication to stewardship is entrenched in their core family values,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Jeffrey A. Reid. “When John Winston acquired the property, it was largely a cutover track of land. Intensive planting, management, and harvesting have led this property to be held up as one of the premier examples of multiple use forest land and open pine management.”