The Greater Houston Off Road Bicycle Association (GHORBA) has been doing big things to improve mountain biking opportunities around Houston. One thing they have been doing lately is taking on an increased roll in getting important work accomplished in the design, review, construction, and maintenance of new and proposed trails. The group's earlier hard work and successes on other trail projects has helped area land managers come to view GHORBA as a source of expertise, manpower, and funding for projects that are extremely valuable.
One particular stand-out project is the Sam Houston National Forest’s Double Lake Trail System in nearby Coldsprings, TX. This beautiful network of singletrack has nearly doubled in size due to the efforts of GHORBA and its partners.
GHORBA hired S&S Trail Services to work with them to design improvements to the Double Lake trail network. The local knowledge and trail building expertise of S&S was an excellent fit for the project, and the improved trail system has been a big success. The network includes many forested loops that are perfect for beginners, young riders, and for experienced riders who want to go fast. The area’s free-draining soils make Double Lake the place to go when other trails closer to Houston are too wet to ride.
Recently, GHORBA again hired S&S Trail Services to design a system of trails on a parcel of the Sam Houston National Forest; this time, near Huntsville, Texas. Like the Double Lake system, this proposed trail network is about an hour from Houston. The site is next door to Huntsville State Park, with its approximately eight-miles of singletrack open to mountain biking.
This spring, GHOBA hired IMBA’s Trail Solutions to evaluate the new Huntsville trail designs. Such a study of the trail designs is required by law; something the US Forest Service is required to do before making a determination about whether to proceed with proposed projects. IMBA’s memorandum of understanding with the US Forest Service recognizes IMBA’s expertise in the design and evaluation of trail sustainability. Thus, the MOU makes IMBA’s Trail Solutions a logical choice for carrying out such an evaluation.
In March, Trail Solutions carried out the assessment of the trail design and has recently submitted its report to GHORBA. GHORBA will provide the report to the Sam Houston National Forest in the coming weeks. With so many people, agencies, organizations, companies, volunteers, and stewards pulling on the same rope (and in the same direction) it shouldn’t be long before even more trail opportunities are available in the greater Houston area.