Local residents have a chance they’ve not had before — a chance to voice their opinion in what happens at Huntsville State Park.

When the park hired Chris Holm as the new parks superintendent, he said he wanted to make a plan for the future of trails at the park.

“The state park has never had an actual plan for managing the trail system,” Holm said. “What we’ve done is put together a draft plan, taking a look at everything that has to do with trails at the park.

“We’re looking at what we have, what we want to do in the future and what we want the system to look like,” he added. “We’re setting down a working guideline of how we want to approach things within the park.”

Holm said there’s a simple reason he’s asking for public input on the new trails plan.

“I know I’m not the ‘Almighty Trails Guy,’” he laughed. “I know there are tons of people out there with ideas.

“I’m a firm believer in community ownership of a trails system,” he said. “If I’m going to propose something, I need to know that the public will buy into it and respect the decisions.”

One of the big areas of concern for a trails plan was mapping. Holm said the system needed a map to reflect not only trails used, but also to map out service roads and now-defunct trails.

“We needed to find out exactly what we have in the park,” he said. “We have old maps, but they’re kind of a hodgepodge. They’re real confusing.”

In creating a current map, all trails were GPS’d and marked accordingly.

“Once we figured out what was there, we said, ‘OK, we want this to be a trail.’ ‘This is not a trail.’ From that, we designed the new system,” he said. “It makes it more user-friendly. Now that we’ve identified things, we’re going to make sure we sign them on the ground. Signage a big part of the plan. People get out there and get lost because the signage out there isn’t adequate.”

While signage on the ground is important and some signs have already been placed, Holm said he still needs public input, so all the changes proposed in the plan will not go into effect until public comments are heard. Once the plan is approved, grant funding should be easier to acquire, Holm said.

“The plan will also help with maintenance for trail system,” he said. “If we decide a certain section is too eroded, we might consider a re-route.”

To view the new plan or for more information, log onto http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/huntsville/trail.phtml

Deadline for comments is Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. Comments must be written and constructive in nature (no form letters) and can be mailed to Huntsville State Park Trail Management Plan, Chris Holm, P.O. Box 508, Huntsville, Texas, 77342 or e-mailed to huntsville.trails@tpwd.state.tx.us.

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