The Sam Houston Multiple-Use Trail (SHMUT) boasts the only designated OHV trail system located on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands in Texas.
After decades of use, combined with ineffective maintenance and some poorly located or constructed trails, this trail system needed major restoration.
In 2006 and 2007, the USFS was granted RTP funds by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to renovate this trail system. Total funding from these two RTP grants was $770,000.
The USFS worked to create a coalition of parties interested in improving and maintaining the SHMUT, consisting of USFS staff, Trail Riders of Houston (TRH), TPWD, and the USFS Trails Unlimited (TU) Enterprise Team, who served as project managers.
During this extensive restoration project, TU introduced a unique trail innovation: the use of pre-engineered fiberglass reinforced polymer bridges to replace the more traditional wooden bridges. To date, three fiberglass bridges have been assembled and installed on the SHMUT. TU also introduced the use of corrugated "arched culverts," made from recycled high-density polyethylene, to replace conventional round corrugated metal culverts and hardened stream crossings. Each of the innovations will ultimately lead to a more sustainable trail system.
Throughout this process, TU has taught basic and advanced classes on trail design, layout and planning, as well as a SWECO trail dozer certification class. TRH members will use this training and experience to help USFS staff maintain the SHMUT.