SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FOREST
SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FOREST
The Sam Houston National Forest, one of four National Forests in Texas, is located 50 miles north of Houston. The forest contains 163, 037 acres between Huntsville, Conroe, Cleveland and Richards, Texas. With land in Montgomery, Walker, and San Jacinto counties, the Sam Houston National Forest is intermingled with privately owned timber lands and small farms.
The district ranger's office is located three miles west of New Waverly on FM 1375.
Deer is the most popular game animal in the Sam Houston National Forest, with squirrels second. Quail and dove are found around newly regenerated timberland. For the water sportsman, fishing and duck hunting can be enjoyed on area lakes and streams.
Lake Conroe and the surrounding National Forest lands provide wintering habitat for the endangered bald eagle. During the winter months, the eagle is not an uncommon sight soaring over the lake, perched on a flooded snag or in a tall pine along the shoreline.
Another endangered species, the red-cockaded woodpecker, is found throughout the Sam Houston National Forest and frequently spotted by observant visitors. The small black and white woodpecker with distinctive large white cheek patches is slightly larger than a bluebird. The male has a single streak of red feathers on each side of his head.
The woodpecker makes its home by pecking cavities in large, living pine trees. These cavities are later used by a variety of forest wildlife including other woodpeckers, bluebirds, screech owls, wood ducks, squirrels, and honey bees.
The red-cockaded woodpecker was designated an endangered species in 1970. This unique little bird and its habitat are fully protected on the Sam Houston National Forest. Wherever these birds are found, the management emphasis is directed toward providing the special habitat they require.
Water - The Sam Houston National Forest is drained through several small creeks into the east and west forks of the San Jacinto River, and a small portion drains into Lake Livingston.
Soil - The Sam Houston National Forest lies within the Gulf Coastal Plains, and the principal soils were developed from unconsolidated beds of clay, sand, sandy clay, or clay shale materials comprising old non-calcareous sediments of the Tertiary and Pleistocene Ages. The soils range from slightly to severely erosive, although any of the soils in the forest will erode under the right conditions.
Minerals - Exploration and drilling for minerals in the Sam Houston National Forest is part of the multiple-use program. Mineral extraction and drilling, allowed under certain conditions, help meet energy needs. Many of the forest minerals belong to private entities who reserved the mineral rights when the lands were purchased during the 1930's, and under the terms of the deed, these outstanding and reserved minerals can be legally explored and removed by the owner.
The three counties that contain the Sam Houston National Forest - Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Walker - have yielded evidence of human occupation dating back 12,000 years. More recently, the basins of the San Jacinto and Trinity Rivers were home to Atakapan-speaking groups known as the Bidai, Patiri, Deadose, and Akokisa. Primarily hunters and gatherers, some from these groups may have practiced some form of agriculture. Disease and pressure from European settlers led to their eventual extinction in the early 1800's. Evidence of occupations from as early as 7,000 years ago to the Twentieth Century has been documented by a number of archaeological sites within the national forest. The remains of our heritage, both prehistoric and historic, are a non-renewable resource protected by Federal and State regulations. Please remember not to disturb any sites, cemeteries, or structures. If you discover any artifacts during your visit to the national forest, please leave them in place and contact the Sam Houston Ranger District Office.
There are three developed campgrounds in the Sam Houston National Forest (Cagle, Double Lake & Stubblefield Recreation Areas). Double Lake facilities are available by reservations or on a first-come, first-served basis if not previously reserved. Cagle and Stubblefield are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Reservation can be completed by calling the National Recreation Service at 1/877/444-6777.
Both Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston offer fine pleasure boating and water sports. Lake Conroe and the southern section of Lake Livingston offer open water for sailing.