This trail has special significance for many of us. The little pond at the southern edge of this trail is the one we call "Korean Pond", and is where we have held our annual "Hikers Thanksgiving". Its the place Scatman got his Trail Name, and where a deer stuck his nose in Cookie Coon's ear. The nothern end of the trail is about 1 3/4 miles south of Parking Lot #2 and Korean Pond at its southern end makes for a great destination when hiking the loops in the Richards Loop Area. It is also a bit drier in early Spring than other trails in the general area. There is a Forest Service road that goes from Bethel Road to the approximate midpoint of the trail which we may have access to that would make it convenient to load in tools if any heavy work is required.
There is also a primitive campsite just south of that FS road that serves as a Dear Season campsite. It is well situated on a rise and conforms to LNT practices as it is convenient to Korean Pond but far enough away not to affect the water there. But it is presently not optimum for hammock camping, especially for more than one hammock camper. It has a great tent pad and the people who have worked on it before have done a fantastic job on it for that purpose. Our goal here would be to use this as an opportunity to educate the Forest Service, the Sam Houston Conservancy, and other hikers and backpackers about proper hammock camping practices, how they minimize damage to the forest, particularly as it concerns soil compaction and damage to low brush, that hammocks do not present the danger to tree growth that some fear, and how to adapt/expand existing primitive tent pad sites to accomodate hammock campers. To that end we would need to make a proposal and general design for such a campsite that emphasizes LNT practices as applied to hammock camping. It is important to note here that our duties will also include making sure this site is maintained for tent use as well, we're just going to adapt it for added functionality as a hammock camping site.
I don't want to get too detailed beyond that right now as I'm just getting into this myself. I do know that we'll be dealing with the Yankee Gummint, so there will be some paperwork and training programs to do, [url:http://www.kgwn.tv/content/news/Congres ... 06256.html]but good news about that sort of thing came out last week.[/url]
I've been named the Point of Contact with the Sam Houston Conservancy for this project. On Saturday February 18, 2017 I will be attending a meeting at SHNF HQ and have been told that anyone interested can attend, we'll know a lot more after that and it will be posted here. After the meeting, we'll change this post from an Announcement to a Sticky and updates will be added on a regular basis.
I think that organizing a camping trip this weekend, and attending the meeting on Saturday morning would be a great way for us to get familiar with the Sand Branch Trail, the Primitive Campsite, the rangers at SHNF and the Sam Houston Conservancy. Since the meeting is at 9:00 AM, we would need to get out butts out of the hammock in time for that. Deer Season will be over, so on trail camping will be allowed, so I'd propose that those who wish to camp for the weekend camp at Hurricane Cove on Friday night and be prepared to move to Korean Pond via Parking Lot #2 for Saturday night. The hike into Hurricane Cove is a good, safe night hiking route for those coming in on Friday night, its a short hike out in the morning, and its only a couple of miles to the Forest HQ from there. We might need to explain the campfire smoke and hiking funk smell when we get there, but t probably isn't the first time folks walked into the building like that. Allen Pape, our contact with the Conservancy, wants to see our hammock camping set ups, and we can survey the trail and the Primitive campsite.LSHT Stewards Meet & Greet
Meet and greet all the Lone Star Hiking Trail stewards, discuss how to maintain the trail, and hear from each of you the needs of trail, trailhead, and primitive campsite you have adopted. Important to attend as we are the best source of people to help one another with big projects like erosion or bridge repair. Some major trail maintenance may require Forest Service approval or special techniques.
Meeting at Sam Houston National Forest ranger station.
Sat Feb 18, 2017 9am – 11am Central Time
https://www.google.com/maps?q=394+FM+13 ... TX%2077358
So, if you'd like to attend the meeting, whether you want to camp with us for the weekend or just attend the meeting on Satruday, sound off here in this post and I will get the names to Allen.
Also, if you have any questions, please ask them here even if you're not going. We can get them asked, and hopefully answered, at the meeting.