Originally a part of the State Prison System, the land that was called State Forest #3 was transferred in 1926 to the Forestry Department of Texas A&M University (now called Texas A&M Forest Service). The property consists of approximately 2,360 acres in various scattered parcels in the western portion of Cherokee County. The largest main tract is located just a few miles west of Maydelle, Texas, and is bisected by State Highway 84.
Like other Texas state forests, the Fairchild is a working, demonstration forest and has served as a site for numerous silvicultural and research studies: harvest cutting, farm forestry, timber stand improvement, reforestation, tree growth, prescribed burning and seed production. The forest also hosts a small population of the federally-listed endangered species, red-cockaded woodpecker. Today, forest management activities focus on habitat protection for this important species of the southern yellow pine ecosystem.