The Neches River (pronounced "NAI ches") flows for through east Texas to its mouth on Sabine Lake near the Rainbow Bridge. Two major reservoirs, Lake Palestine and Lake B. A. Steinhagen are located on the Neches. Several cities are located along the Neches River Basin, including Tyler, Lufkin, Silsbee, Beaumont, Vidor, Port Neches, Nederland, Groves, and Port Arthur.
From Lake B.A. Steinhagen down to Beaumont, the Neches River flows through the 97,000 acre (390 km²) Big Thicket National Preserve. This important ecosphere preserves the area where several eco-systems converge -- an event that harkens back to the last Ice age. The Big Thicket Visitor Center is off U.S. Highway 69 several miles north of Kountze.
A new national wildlife refuge was purchased on the Neches River in 2006 (Neches River National Wildlife Refuge). It currently covers but is proposed for 16,000 acres (65 km²). The site of the new wildlife refuge is where a proposed dam site sits for the city of Dallas and its suburbs. The acquisition of one acre by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was at one time enough to stop the proposed dam from being erected, but now the acquisition has to go through the governor of Texas to stop the dam and that could take many years. Dam proponets say that the wildlife refuge was put there in order to block the dam from ever being erected.
The (BIG dam) located on the rivers edge