LAKE JACKSON — Residents will have the opportunity to be a part of the future of coastal recreation at a biennial fundraiser this week.

The Friends of Brazoria Wildlife Refuges will host its fourth A Taste for Nature event at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Brazosport College Dow Academic Center, 500 College Drive., Lake Jackson. The event is hosted every two years and proceeds from this year’s event go toward developing the Cannan Bend Recreation Area along Oyster Creek and CR 690.

Tickets for the event are already sold out, but sponsorships are still welcome, said Lisa Ladd Myers, president of the board of directors.

The property for the planned recreation area, which covers more than 40 acres, is “kind of extraordinary,” Myers said. “(It’s) old-growth forest and prairie that has not been farmed — really pretty, unspoiled property.”

Plans for development include restrooms, facilities for picnicking and fishing, and two miles of trails through the forested area.

Cannan Bend will include the only freshwater fishing area around the refuges, and the organization wants to create a birding and fishing recreation area for families.

“There’s a 30-acre former sandpit that has been filled with water and we’re adding some bass and fish to create a fishery,” said Jennifer Sanchez, refuge complex manager for the Texas Mid-coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “It’s also a food source for migratory songbirds, and we want to provide two miles of trails through the forested area for visitors to see these birds as they’re preparing to continue their migration route.”

The fundraiser will consist of a live and silent auction, and seven different wines from Australia and New Zealand served with flavor-matched hors d’oeuvres.

Rich Wells, site director of Texas Operations for Dow Chemical Co. and vice president of operations for the US Gulf Coast, will serve as honorary chair.

Organizers hope to raise $125,000, which will be matched by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. With an overall projected cost of $500,000, “this fundraiser will probably pay for less than one-third of what we ultimately need,” Myers said.

Money raised Friday will be for the first phase of what they hope will become a larger project, Sanchez said. Funds will come from the sales of event tickets, auction items, and sponsorships.

“This is a starting point for trying to raise funds to put some basic facilities in place,” she said. “With the addition of those, we hope to open it within a year.”

Corinna Richardson is the features writer for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0150.

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