A group of people who live in the Bridgeland community in the Cypress area are now calling out the developer. They say the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the land, has started prohibiting access to areas they used to mountain bike on, without any explanation.
The area is along Cypress Creek.
Many of the people who built and use the trails are part of the Brigeland Mountain Bike Trails Club.
You can’t see the trails they carved out on the area map, and the corporation says there’s a good reason.
Representatives say that particular land is not meant to be open to the public and those who go there are trespassing, stating that those areas are unsafe.
The controversial trails tucked away in the woods of the Bridgeland community are part of more than a dozen miles of trails that residents say they volunteered to build over the course of about 10 years.
”Ninety-five percent of the building, maintaining, all the safety features we put in and all of that, has been done by thousands and thousands of hours of volunteer resident work,” said Bryce Cole, who is one of the club’s leaders and treasurers.
”I come out here three to five times a week. Not just to exercise, I come out here to decompress. Not just mountain bikers but you have people that are walking their pets, joggers, walkers,” said club member, Gustavo Curiel.
Club members say over the past six months or so, the Howard Hughes Corporation has blocked off about half of the trails the club members and other volunteers made.
”They are very much cutting down trees, putting up barbed wire across the trails, things of that nature. But there’s no signage that says. ‘Hey, you are now trespassing,’” Cole said. “Other communities are doing a ton of stuff to bolster their mountain biking and trail utilization. Howard Hughes did that, and when the timing was right, took advantage of that to help sell houses. And now, for one reason or another, when they’re done with the volunteers that put in their blood sweat, and tears, [they are now] systematically shutting it down and it’s just a huge slap in the face.”
The specific areas being targeted are uneven, rocky trails that were made by residents for residents under a previous leader with Howard Hughes Corporation.
Those upset say they had a “handshake” agreement with the person who previously oversaw the area.
The Howard Hughes Corporation sent the following statement:
”The mountain bike club built trails and structures on private property, raising concerns for public safety and liability. The club was notified last Fall that they were trespassing, and members were invited to enjoy the over 80 miles of surrounding trails that we have built to date within Bridgeland.”
In response to that statement, club members say this is the first time they’re hearing about safety concerns because the developer won’t communicate with them.
They also say they’d be willing to discuss ways to ensure safety on the trails in question.
While the Mountain Bike Trail Club is not a 5013c nor does it have tax filing status, Cole tells KPRC 2 the organization has operated off of donations and fundraising for 10 years.
While he says he’s not sure about how much they’ve received in cash donations because they don’t keep ledgers, the Venmo account he jointly oversees currently has about $2,500. The money, he says is used to maintain the trails they created on the Howard Hughes Corporation’s property.
Cole adds, without the trails, the club can’t exist.