Parts of the Sam Houston National Forest are starting to open again after being closed since March.
"This is great news," says FOX 26 Meteorologist John Dawson. "Get those bikes and backpacks ready for the summer after all."
Many would credit our recent rain for the opening of these trials, but this current release do more to man power, than Mother Nature.
"Interesting timing, the closure was due to dead trees, not dry conditions," explains Dawson. "The rains have definitely helped recover from a dry May, but can't do anything for all the tree already dead from last year's drought. It sounds like some of those dangerous trees have been removed."
Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail in the Sam Houston National Forest is open, according to Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every.
Trails, trailheads and other areas where the public gathers in the forest were closed in March when it became apparent that the large number of dead trees killed in the drought created a safety hazard.
The mountain bike trail, as well as 16 miles of the Lone Star Hiking Trial, are now open and crews are working to open sections of the Sam Houston Multi-Use Trail and additional sections of the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
As the trails open and people begin to use them, Van Every urges visitors to keep safety in mind.
"We are cutting hundreds of hazardous trees around trails, trailheads and recreation areas, but there are thousands of dead trees that remain in the general forest area," he said. "Safety is always a primary concern, so please be aware of your surroundings and do not park your vehicle or pitch a tent where it could be hit by a falling tree."
Van Every added that recent rains have softened the ground and winds can greatly increase the threat of falling trees and limbs.
"A falling limb can be just as deadly as a falling tree," he said. "If you are in the forest when winds increase, head to a clearing out of the reach of falling trees."
"We heard loud and clear at our public meetings just how important the trails are to our user groups," Van Every said. "We will be opening more sections of trails as soon as we and our contractor crews can remove the hazard trees."
Trail sections open in the Sam Houston National Forest include:
- Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail in Double Lake Recreation Area.
- 13 miles of the Lone Star Hiking trail from Forest Service Road 219 Trailhead parking lot (the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club Trailhead No. 1) to FM 149 South Trailhead parking lot (Lone Star Hiking Trail Club Trailhead No. 4).
- Three miles of the Lone Star Hiking Trail from the parking lot on the I-45 feeder road north of Huntsville State Park (Lone Star Hiking Trail Club Trailhead No. 7) to the Camella Lake spillway.
- One mile adjacent to the Ranger's office in New Waverly.
For more information, contact Sam Houston National Forest Ranger Warren Oja by phone at 936-344-6205.
On the Web:
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service -- http://www.fs.usda.gov/texas