The Multiple Use Trail (MUT) on the Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) provides the only legal riding opportunities for Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) on National Forest land in the state of Texas.
The MUT is composed of 85 miles of trails open to OHVs, bicycles, equestrians, and hiking. Separated into two near equal length trail systems by the northern end of Lake Conroe, the MUT offers a network of loops and trail options. Five trailheads (four with CXT vault toilets) have amenities such as information kiosk, self pay stations, and large parking areas for trailers. Kelly Pond Trailhead offers free overnight camping with picnic tables and expanded parking for trailers or motor homes. Historical use of OHVs on the SHNF dates back to 1960’s. Pioneering the first routes for endurance trail riding, the Trail Riders of Houston (TRH) have held the Caney Creek Enduro for over 40 years on the SHNF trails.
Partnerships play a critical role in the success of trail
sustainability measures and management principles. As the
number of visitors continues to increase the Forest Service
relies on cooperating partners such as local trail users, the
Trail Riders of Houston, the Sam Houston Trails Coalition,
local businesses, and Texas Parks and Wildlife to manage the
trail system effectively. This trend toward fostering positive
partnerships is critical to the long term sustainability of all
trails on the Forest as budgets and staff continue to decline.
Volunteer groups such as the Trail Riders of Houston, Old
Dudes on Dirt Bikes, the Sam Houston Trails Coalition, Boy
Scouts of America, and others will continue to play a critical role in the
management and maintenance of the MUT. Volunteers
previously trained to work with mechanized trail equipment will continue their training and
those interested in learning the mechanized aspects of trail
building and new erosion control techniques will be invited to
participate. Volunteers will aid in the construction of proposed
bridges, repairs to existing bridges, and trail tread
rehabilitation. Over the past fiscal year volunteers have
contributed over 10,000 hours of volunteer labor on the Sam
Houston National Forest.
The five proposed task for this grant are as follows: