In June 2011,
Forest Supervisor Linda Brett of the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas turned down
a request by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to swap or buy out 1,824 acres of
Sam Houston National Forest (Compartment 57) to add to Huntsville State Park.
The Houston Sierra Club (Sierra Club) expressed concerns about the possible land swap
or buy out to U.S. Forest Service (FS) District Ranger Warren Oja. Some of the issues that
the Sierra Club brought up included the protection of Alligator Branch and its floodplain;
preservation of the Lone Star Hiking Trail as a hiking trail; prevention of the
institution of fees for the use of the LSHT; protection of important upland mixed forests;
the need for fire management and the use of prescribed fire; creation of Red-cockaded
Woodpecker (RCW) habitat; possible reintroduction of RCW; preservation of a wildlife
corridor between Huntsville State Park, Elkins Lake, and Compartments 55, 56, and 57;
restoration of shortleaf pine ecosystems; protection of old growth or old growth-like
forests; provision of additional trails; and retyping of forest types.
The Sierra Club discussed the proposal with Supervisor Brett and told her that the Club
believes that the FS is the appropriate agency to administer federal national forest
lands. TPWD does not have the money to buy Compartment 57 and does not have the land to
swap for Compartment 57. The Sierra Club does not support selling off important
biological, ecological, and recreational lands (like Compartment 57) in the National
Forests and Grasslands in Texas.
The Sierra Club appreciates Supervisor Bretts decision and looks forward to
working with the FS and TPWD in the management of Compartment 57.