Spring Creek Nature Trail Now Open
Last Friday morning, members of the Bayou Land Conservancy and community leaders, volunteers, and residents from The Woodlands area gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the Spring Creek Nature Trail. The grand opening celebrating the completed construction of the new 13-mile natural surface hike and bike trail was the culmination of coordinated efforts between various organizations and over 2500 hours of hard work from volunteers.
Surrounded by lush forest and greenery, the Spring Creek Nature Trail meanders along and across Spring Creek, and is the first trail that’s going to connect Harris and Montgomery Counties and go all the way to I-45.
The trail has four main entrances: The Dr. Ann Snyder trailhead is located of Creekside Forest Drive, the Rob Fleming Trailhead is at 6464 Creekside Forest Dr., the Flintridge Trailhead is inside the George Mitchell Nature Preserve, and the Montgomery County Preserve Trailhead is off Pruitt Road. The Dr. Ann Snyder Trailhead is not open to the public yet, but should be later this summer.
Jill Boullion, Executive Director of the Bayou Land Conservancy, started off the ceremony by sharing a brief history of her organization’s construction of the trail. “On March 10, 2017, a group much like today gathered at the Creekside Park Preserve to break ground on the Spring Creek Nature Trail," she said. "I remember that event was graced by the presence of a bald eagle soaring over our heads. Our goal was to finish the 13 miles of the volunteer-built trail by the summer of 2018. To be honest, we weren’t sure we could accomplish that, but we are here today to celebrate that unbelievable accomplishment. The initial construction phase is complete, slightly ahead of schedule."
Boullion also shared some words about the collaboration between various people and entities that made the construction of the trail possible, as well as what makes the trail special to her personally. “I love that it’s a trail for the community built by the community. It’s important to note that our trail is built on lands the Bayou Land Conservancy does not own, so collaboration was key. Where we stand today is the Montgomery County Preserve. This Preserve was dedicated in 2002. It’s the first partnership between a land trust and a county on a conservation project in Texas. It’s really one of the very early cornerstone pieces of what is now the Spring Creek greenway, which is the longest, contiguous, urban, forested greenway in the country,” she said.
The trail's project manager and Lands Stewardship Director, Suzanne Simpson, pointed out that although the trail has been designed with sustainability in mind, it will still require efforts from the community and volunteers to maintain. Speaking about the effects of recent disaster flooding in the area from the Tax Day Flood, Memorial Day Flood, and Hurricane Harvey, she revealed: “After each of those record storm events, we barely had to move or reroute any of the trail because we were able to flag the very sustainable and upland portions of the trail that are going to be able to withstand the periodic erosion that we get throughout Spring Creek.”
“Now, because we flagged the upland portions of the trail, that means we also flagged the thickest parts of the trail that are full of yaupon holly, beautyberry and trifoliate orange. We had days where we were literally crawling on our hands and knees underneath the trail to flag the darn thing, but we did it. After that alignment was approved by TXDOT, we were able to start construction in April of 2017, and since that time, we have had over 2500 hours of volunteer service put into this trail.”
Volunteers will still be needed to maintain the trail. "Every time that you come out here and volunteer, you make this trail more sustainable for the future so that generations can enjoy this," Simpson explained.
On behalf of The Woodlands residents, many of whom will enjoy and appreciate the new trail, Township Director John A. Brown thanked the Bayou Land Conservancy and volunteers who were in attendance for their hard work and contributions. “Here we have a great team,” he said. “We had 100% dedication and love, and this project is so important, especially to The Woodlands Township, because in its mission to live one with nature, this is a perfect example to give back to the community to also enjoy this.”
Boullion also thanked Bayou Land Conservancy’s partners on this project, The Woodlands Township, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Greater Houston Off Road Biking Association, REI, American Hiking Society and Montgomery County Precinct Three. She also thanked Bayou Land Conservancy board members Bill Bass, Jonathan Lok, Robby Hendrick, and Lisa Graiff, advisory council members Mike Howlett, Fred Leblanc, Justin Fausek, and Robert Collins, and staff members Kayla Garcia, Melissa Carter, Becky Martinez, and Suzanne Simpson. She also gave a shout out to Township Director John A. Brown, PCT. 3 Commissioner James Noack, and Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee and Representative for TX-CD 8, Kevin Brady.
Simpson gave recognition to the many volunteers who invested a significant amount of “sweat equity” into this trail for the benefit of their community. She pointed out that some of the volunteers like John Stacy, Steve Murray, Bob Goode, David Hollaway, Frank Holter, and Peter Jensen, individually put in over 100 hours of work into the trail.
If you would like to get involved with the Bayou Land Conservancy through volunteering, becoming a member, or donating, click here.
View footage from the trail below: