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Northeast Texas: Geographical Analysis

Texas is the second largest state in the United States of America after Alaska and it has the largest population compared to all other states in America. Northeast Texas is one of the major regions that have attractive geographical features. It is made up of 23 counties and is geographically located at the northeast corner of Texas hence the name Northeast Texas. It is bordered by many states example; Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Gulf of Mexico. This state has several cities example Tyler, Marshall, Paris, Mount Pleasant, and Greenville. Palestine and Jacksonville are cities found in northeast Texas at the south (McCorkle 32).

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Northeast Texas has forests that comprise different species of both coniferous and deciduous vegetation. The coniferous forests have different species of pine and cypresses. It is estimated that there are over 100 species of pine in the world and these forests have most of the species. The forests are green throughout the year because the trees do not shed off their leaves. They grow up to about 50 metres tall with a maximum height of 80 metres. Some of these trees are old with most of them being 80 years but a few exceptions go up to 150 years (Alvarez 121). Few of the plants are shrubs but most part of the forest consists of softwoods. Their growth is favoured by the acidic soil and also the good drainage system as the land is hilly with the soil holding little water. Today, they are cut down by people for timber destroying the forest. The deciduous vegetation includes shrubs and herbs that shed off their leaves seasonally. They are hardwoods and are harvested by man for various applications. The pine trees dominate in the forests that extend to the Oklahoma and Arkansas states which are situated to the north of Texas (Alvarez 122). An example of hardwood trees found in this vegetation is the oak. Wetlands are at times found in the pine wood vegetation.

Northeast Texas has a good drainage system because the land is hilly although there are a few swamps. The major river in Northeast Texas is called Sabine River. It is approximately 800 kilometres in length and is as a result of the merging of three small rivers namely South Fork, Caddo Fork, and Cowleetch Fork. The three forks flow from different parts of this region before they combine to form the major river. The river flows through some cities, for example the Mineola and Longview Cities and it empties into Lake Sabine (Ramos 153). The Red River is also a major drainage system in the region. It is one of the largest basins in the area and is as a result of two Forks that start at the northern part of Texas and Oklahoma. The biggest fork is about 200 kilometres in length (Ramos 154). Some borders are formed by the Red river as it gets into the nearby states. It is a major branch of River Mississippi and it also branches to River Atchafalaya. It has an approximate length of 2200 kilometres. These are the two major rivers in the Northeast Texas region with other smaller rivers draining into swamps. Another feature in the region is the Caddo Lake that attracts many visitors. It is one of the natural features that have retained their beauty. Visitors view it from a distance when in a boat because it is inaccessible.

There are several swamps in the region also referred to as bayou. An example of these swamps is the Cypress Bayou that has three branches (Alvarez 125). These three small cypresses are near Jefferson and drain into Lake Caddo. They are a part of Cypress forest which is the largest in Texas. The Cypress bayou is being polluted and trees cut down to give room for human development. Thus the bayou is at risk because of exposure as the big trees are eliminated. The bayous mostly have Bald cypress as the main vegetation but in some parts, Spanish moss is seen. These plants grow in low areas that are flat with a body of water on the surface. When a river is moving very slowly it can also be called a bayou. In the genus Taxodium distichum, Bald cypress is the most common species and it grows best in areas that have silt deposits (Alvarez 126). Their wood is preferred to other hardwoods and people are cutting them down at a high rate. The Spanish moss produces beautiful flowers and coils itself around other trees for support denying them exposure to sunlight necessary for photosynthesis.

Grasslands are important geographical features in northeast Texas. The major grassland is the Caddo National Grassland that is about 18000 acres (McCorkle 36). It was natural, but today the government has modified it to make it more attractive for tourists. Wild animals like, deer, fox, birds, and turkey are found in this grassland. Ladonia, Bois d’Arcy, and Laka Fannin are the three parts of the grassland (McCorkle 36). This place has both planted and native grasses due to the government’s effort to restore it after destruction by man. Great change is expected when the planted grass and trees grow making it a better tourist attraction site in the region.

Northeast Texas has different types of soil and various tree types are planted by man for timber and beauty. The temperature in Northeast Texas may be as low as -5 degrees Celsius during the cold season and some plants cannot grow in such low temperatures while others can do well. Examples, an evergreen plant called Australin pin is grown in this area regardless of the soil type. It grows to about 60 feet in height and a width of about 30 feet. Varnish tree has a good shape and is grown for shade and flowers. It grows to an approximate height of 30 feet. Pecan and Ginkgo are both grown for shade and can grow to great heights with time (Ramos 157).

In north east Texas, wells are dug to provide water for domestic use. These wells are dug through beds that hold underground water. The beds have different colours and texture. The geological arrangement of the region consists of several layers that include: Sparta, Wetches, Raklaw, and Carrizo, Wilcox, and Queen City forms of beds (Alvarez 130). In most part of northeast Texas, the Sparta form has been carried away leaving valleys and trenches. It is made up of very fine sand that is mixed with clay soil. When wells are dug below this layer, enough water is found. Northeast Texas also has fertile soils and level plateaus important for the growth of corn, rice, and wheat.

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Waterfalls in northeast Texas are man made examples of the Kiwanis waterfalls. It is found in Coleman Park in Sulphur Spring town. A man made lake in the region is the Wright Pitman Lake. It is controlled by the Army and it prevents floods to areas that are near the Sulphur and Red rivers (Ramos 158). It is also important for water conservation supplying the nearby population with water through out the year. This lake is also used for recreation purposes. It is situated along the Sulphur River in the county called Bowie and other small rivers also empty into this lake. It is located south of Texarkana and east of Dallas. Tyler Lake, another man made lake provides the population of Tyler with constant water. It stores large amount of water throughout the year and also constantly supply to nearby dams.

Geographical analysis of the transport system in Northeast Texas indicates that it is well distributed. Most cities in this region have major highways connecting one town to the other and most people use the road as a means of transport. Every year, expansions are done on the highways to improve the road transport. This place also has a railway that connects most of the cities. Airports are also well distributed with the East Texas Regional Airport acting as a site for the landing of space shuttles of the country (McCorkle 39). These airports are always being developed to meet the demands of the ever growing population.

Analysis on the health facilities distribution shows that Northeast Texas has got advanced and equipped medical centers with the major hospital being located in Tyler. Tyler has the highest number of people compared to other cities in the region. It is also the biggest city followed by Longview. The population of northeast Texas is high with different races. Most of the people are white with a small percentage of immigrants. The learning institutions are also evenly distributed and every city has several colleges and universities. The institutions are well equipped with the required learning materials.

During my visit to north east Texas, I went to Paris and Marshall Cities. Paris city is part of the county of Lamar and it is located at the edge of the Pine forest. It has a large area of about 113 km2 with a four percent of it being water. It has some attraction sites such as the Pat Mayse Lake and the Lake Crook. Pat Mayse Lake is situated at the north of the city along the Sander swamps which drain into the Red River. This lake was constructed around 1968 and has a large surface area of about 6000 square kilometres (Ramos 160). Around the lake there are various vegetations example the cutgrass and bulrush. The lake is famous for fishing with catfish and crappie species dominating in this lake. Lake Crook is along the Pine Creek which drains into the Red River. It was constructed several years ago and has a smaller surface area compared to the Pat Mayse Lake. Along its shores there are bulrush and cutgrass vegetation with many species of fish in the Lake. Economically, this city is stable with the health sector providing the highest number of employment opportunities. Farming is also practised in this area and cotton is the main cash crop.

Marshall City is a center for culture and education in north east Texas. It has few water bodies and construction of artificial lakes is not advanced compared to other cities. This has city has hot summers and moderate temperatures during winter seasons. The temperatures may rise up to 29 degrees Celsius during the summer season. The amount of rainfall received in this area per year is about 1300 mm with the lowest amount of precipitation in July and August (Ramos 166). The economy of the city is healthy with tourism industry being the main source of income. There are several tourist attraction sites with the number of visitors going as high as one million in a year. There are several primary and secondary schools in the city and about four major colleges and universities. The largest university is called East Texas Baptist University (Ramos 168).

In conclusion, northeast Texas has attractive geographical features both man made and natural. Its tourism industry is expected to grow with the development of more man made lakes, waterfalls, and grasslands. As the transport system is expanded every year the economy of this region is expected to grow. Many hospitals and universities are being built and many people both Americans and immigrants are moving to this region. It is a wonderful place to visit.

Works cited

Alvarez Elizabeth, C. Texas Almanac: 2006-2007. Texas: Dallas Morning News. 120-135.

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McCorkle Nelle. Geography of Texas. New York: American book Company, 1998. 32-39.

Ramos Mary, G. Texas Almanac: 2002-2003. Texas: Dallas Morning News. 152-168.

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