“More trails, close to home" is the motto for the Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association, a local chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, an international advocacy organization that has focused on trails and access for mountain bikers across the United States since 1988.
The Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association will add to its mission in partnership with the city of Missouri City after City Council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement during a special meeting Dec. 6 for the two entities to build, maintain and manage soft surface, multiuse, natural surface trails within Missouri City’s park and trail systems, according to a Dec. 6 agenda report.
The association is already in the process of flagging where a new trail system will go: approximately 80 acres east of Thompson Ferry Road and south of LJ Parkway, between Riverstone and Sienna, said Ryan Strohl, chair of the Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association. The land was deeded to Missouri City in 2020 as a gift from Herrin Ranch Development II Inc. on behalf of the Riverstone Phase II Subdivision.
“After we've flagged it, and our group feels that this is what we want, we’ll present that to the city, to [Parks and Recreation Director] Jason Mangum,” Strohl said. “He'll have to go out there and walk the whole thing and approve it. And then we can begin cutting.”
Cutting would mean using brush mowers and staying below the trees to ensure there is adequate shade, Strohl said. The path is about 2.1 miles, though it may end up being about 2.4 miles of trail including any curves, Strohl said.
As per the interlocal agreement, the single-track trail system will be available for all public use, not just mountain bikes. The Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association will look to keep the trails friendly to the public by pulling from its experience in maintaining about 22 miles of trail in Sugar Land.
“Those trails are maintained by the mountain bike group, but there are a lot of dog walkers, lots of families, and kids and their parents that are out,” Strohl said. “It's sort of our culture to be welcoming to everybody who uses the trails.”
Support from City Council during the discussion of the new trail system was unanimous, though Council Member Floyd Emery had questions about ensuring safety.
“We would have some rules that would be posted,” Mangum said during the Dec. 6 meeting. “We would want helmets to be used, and any features that they build—like a mountain biking feature or a jump—would have a ride around, or a safer route for a walker.”