Message flagged Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:29 AM
U.S. Forest Service
2221 North Raguet St.
Lufkin, Texas 75904
May 23, 2012
For Immediate Release
Sam Houston, Davy Crockett National Forests
open trail sections
Two sections of the Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Sam Houston National Forest and a section of the 4-C Hiking Trail in the Davy Crockett National Forest will open Thursday, May 24, according to Acting Forest Supervisor Stephanie Neal Johnson.
Trails, trailheads and other areas where the public gathers in the two forests were closed in March when it became apparent that the large number of dead trees killed in the drought created a safety hazard.
The hiking trail sections were opened first because they had the fewest dead trees leaning over the trail, according to Johnson.
As the trails open and people begin to use them, Johnson urges visitors to keep safety in mind.
"We are cutting hundreds of hazardous trees around trails, trailheads and recreation areas, but there are literally thousands of dead trees that remain in the general forest area," she said. "Safety is always a primary concern, so be aware of your surroundings and do not park your vehicle or pitch a tent where it could be hit by a falling tree."
Johnson 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," she said. If you are in the forest when winds kick up, head to a clearing out of the reach of falling trees."
Trail sections open in the Davy Crockett National Forest include:
-- 17 miles of the 4-C Trail from FM 227, northeast of Ratcliff Lake, to Forest Service Road 511 south of State Highway 21. The trail crosses Forest Service Road 511 twice but it will be open to the farthest north crossing.
Trail sections open in the Sam Houston National Forest include:
-- 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.
"We heard loud and clear at our public meetings just how important the trails are to our user groups," Johnson said. "These first few miles represent sections that were evaluated as low risk areas that could be opened quickly with our employees. Trails with moderate and high damage will be opened as soon as possible as contractor crews take out the hazard trees."
For more information, contact Sam Houston National Forest Ranger Warren Oja at 936-344-6205, or Davy Crockett National Forest Ranger Gerald Lawrence at 936-655-2299.