Gist Ranch Conservation Area is in Texas County, approximately five miles west of Summersville and 14 miles east of Houston.
Gist Ranch is a local name for this tract of land. The Conservation Department purchased this property in 1997 from Smith Flooring Company of Mountain View.
The area is contained in one contiguous tract and is heavily forested. Visitors to the area will find abundant populations of deer, turkey, and other forest wildlife species.
A number of natural communities can be found on Gist Ranch CA. These include small springs and wetlands (also called "fens"). The spring and fen areas host wildflowers like orange coneflower and cowbane and provide valuable habitat for salamanders, frogs, and other wildlife. Small dolomite glades, surrounded by savanna, also occur on the ridges, and on south- and west-facing slopes on Gist Ranch CA. These areas support a diverse flora, including little bluestem, leadplant, wild quinine, blazing star, and rattlesnake master. They also serve as important foraging spots for deer, turkey, and quail.
The Conservation Department is working to improve the area for visitors by constructing ponds and lakes, grading or paving roads and building camping and picnic facilities. Watershed stabilization, upland wildlife habitat practices, and forest management are being implemented.