The Neches River is not wild in its youth. It flows gently along pastures, under barb-wire fences, and through culverts lying under asphalt roads. It flows placidly through East Texas pastures and farm land, watering stock and nourishing the fringe trees along its margin.The river follows its valley and bottomland through thickets and dense woods, but its path is always narrow. Even when it floods, the water does not stray far from its banks. The young Neches nourishes the usual rural farmland population of deer, 'coons, 'possums and polecats, but nothing wild and scary, unless you count wild cat squirrels and scary water moccasins. When night falls, the river banks stir and scurry with wildlife sniffs and snorts and hogs rooting and frogs and toads in chorus. But the sound of the river is gentle.With over one hundred photographs and maps, Let the River Run Wild! transports readers along the wooded banks of the Neches in a photographic journey that highlights the flora and fauna inhabiting the woods along this coursing river from its narrow upper reaches that run from Lake Palestine dam to its mouth on Sabine Lake. Learn about the highly controversial fight to save the upper Neches led by the Texas Conservation Alliance and why the Neches River is listed as number six on the most endangered rivers list, complied by the American Rivers organization.
Adrian F. Van Dellen, DVM, is a retired United States Air Force pathologist and an avid canoer and nature photographer. Francis Edward Abernethy is a Distinguished Professor of Emeritus of English at SFASU, USA.