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Explore, Enjoy and Protect

Houston Regional Group - Get Outdoors - Explore and Enjoy the Planet

Quick Links:

Outings (by date) Outings Guidelines Anytime Outings Outings Leader Training

Be sure to check the Houston Sierra Club MeetUp page here for updates!

OUTINGS (BY DATE)

Work Day

SERVICE - Feburary 7, 2015 (Sat.) - MARYSEE PRAIRIE WORK DAY

The Marysee Prairie is one of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the Big Thicket region. Come assist the Texas Land Conservancy in this ongoing effort to revive and maintain the native grasses and wildflowers on this site near Batson, Texas.
Work tasks vary by month, but usually involve controlling the regrowth of woody species and keeping the prairie clear for mowing. Tools provided. Check the Meetup site for updates.
For more information and to confirm work dates, contact Tom Maddux at 936-697-3425, or Frank Blake at frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896.

Service

SERVICE - February 7, 2015 (Sat.) - KATY PRAIRIE SERVICE OUTING

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, join the Houston Sierra Club on a visit to the beautiful Katy Prairie. We will help the Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) on this service trip by either getting our hands "dirty" doing some nursery work with native grasses and wildflowers or some other fun activity at the Indian Grass Preserve and Field Office. The morning should be cool with a harbinger of spring in the air.
After our project we will enjoy birding, strolling, and just relaxing on the Katy Prairie. Bring your daypack, water (at least two quarts), lunch, hiking shoes, cameras, bug repellant, sunscreen, field guides, binoculars, and clothes to fit the weather. We should be back about 5 p.m.
We will meet at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a silver-gray Honda Civic with bumper-stickers on the back.
Contact Brandt Mannchen at the Houston Sierra Club outings meet-up site, 713-664-5962, or brandtshnfbt@juno.com . If there is any change in plans Brandt will contact you.
For those who want to meet us at the KPC Indian Grass Preserve and Field Office at about 9 a.m. the directions are:
1. Go Interstate 10 West past Katy, exit and turn right (north) onto Pederson Road, and then go about one-half mile to U.S. Highway 90.
2. Turn left (west) onto U.S. Highway 90, go about one-half mile, and then turn right onto FM 2855.
3. Go about 6 miles on FM 2855 and stop at FM 529. After you cross FM 529, FM 2855 is called Morrison Road. Go 1 mile and turn left. You will still be on Morrison Road.
4. Go 1 mile on Morrison Road and at the stop sign turn right (north) onto Pattison Road. Go 3 miles on Pattison Road and stop at Hebert Road. Turn left (west) onto Hebert Road.
5. Go 1 mile on Herbert Road to the KPC Indian Grass Preserve and Field Office entrance road. Turn left (south) onto the entrance road, drive 0.3 miles, and park in front of the Field Office.

Hike

WEEKEND OUTING - February 20-22, 2015 (Friday - Sunday) - GOVERNMENT CANYON STATE NATURAL AREA

Government Canyon State Natural Area, just northwest of San Antonio, is one of the newer parks in Texas and opened to the public in 2005. The park covers over 8,600 acres and lies on the Balcones Escarpment, an area of deeply entrenched canyons that defines the eastern boundary of the Edwards Plateau. Approximately 88% of the natural area overlays the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, and the park was established to help protect this important water resource. Government Canyon SNA features more than 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, and also has some 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks.
Car camping means tent camping at a regular car accessible campground. For further details and to sign up, contact Frank Blake at frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896 (e-mail preferred) or Lorraine Gibson at 281-384-4104 or raineygib@aol.com.

Service

SERVICE - Feburary 28, 2015 (Sat.) - NORTH JETTY BEACH CLEANUP

The Houston Group has adopted this stretch of beach as part of the Texas "Adopt-A-Beach Program." The North Jetty is a popular fishing, crabbing, and birding spot on the Bolivar Peninsula just south of the Audubon Society's Bolivar Flats Sanctuary. Because this site is heavily used, trash and litter have become a problem. Much of the trash, such as discarded fishing line and plastics, are hazards to area wildlife.
It is interesting to visit the jetty in different seasons. To sign up, contact Frank Blake, frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896 or sign up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meetup website. Additional details will be emailed to participants.

Hike

HIKE- February 28, 2015 (Saturday) - VISIT NEW REFUGE ACQUISITION

The Houston Sierra Club will visit a new land acquisition to the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. We will be guided by Mike Lange, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who will show us the Braniff Tract which contains 425 acres of Columbia Bottomlands Coastal Forest.
The Columbia Bottomlands Coastal Forest is unique in Texas and consists of huge Live Oaks, Pecans, Green Ashes, Cedar Elms, Western Soapberrys, Shumard Oaks, and many other tree species in a jungle-like subtropical forest that is lovely to the eye, heart, mind, and soul (the birds love it too). Since this will be the last weekend in February the weather should be cool with spring just around the corner.
Bring your daypack, hat, plenty of water, lunch, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, field guides, and clothes to fit the weather. Long pants are highly recommended since we will be bushwacking some of the time. We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a Silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers. We will be back in Houston about 5 p.m.
If you would like to come contact Brandt Mannchen at 713-664-5962, brandtshnfbt@juno.com, or use the Houston Sierra Club Meetup site. In case of trip cancellation Brandt will contact you. For those who want to meet us in Brazoria County we will meet at Hudson Woods at 9 a.m. The directions to Hudson Woods are as follows:
1) From Houston, go south on State Highway (SH) 288.
2) Exit SH 288 and turn right onto SH 35 and go west about 5 miles.
3) At the intersection of SH 35 and FM 521 turn right onto FM 521 and go about one mile.
4) From FM 521 turn right onto Sally Lake Road, go about mile, and drive straight into the entrance of Hudson Woods (road veers left).

Service

SERVICE - March 7, 2015 (Sat.) - MARYSEE PRAIRIE WORK DAY

The Marysee Prairie is one of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the Big Thicket region. Come assist the Texas Land Conservancy in this ongoing effort to revive and maintain the native grasses and wildflowers on this site near Batson, Texas.
Work tasks vary by month, but usually involve controlling the regrowth of woody species and keeping the prairie clear for mowing. Tools provided.
Check the Meetup site for updates.
For more information and to confirm work dates, contact Tom Maddux at 936-697-3425, or Frank Blake at frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896.

Hike

HIKE - March 14, 2015 (Sat.) - TRIP TO TRINITY RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

On Saturday, March 14, the Houston Sierra Club will hike and see some of the best bottomland hardwood forests in East Texas at the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge (TRNWR). Spring will be here and we may get a glimpse of some early wildflowers. Birds will be nesting, having families, and thinking of migration.
Bring your daypack, hat, water, snacks, lunch, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, field guides, and clothes to fit the weather. Long pants are highly recommended. We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a Silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers. We will be back in Houston about 4 pm. If you would like to come you can sign up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meetup site, call 713-664-5962, or email brandtshnfbt@juno.com. In case of trip cancellation you will be notified.

Hike

WEEKEND OUTING - March 27-29, 2015 (Friday - Sunday) - SPRINGTIME AT IVY'S WILDLIFE REFUGE

The Texas Land Conservancy (TLC) will host an open-house weekend at Ivy's Wildlife Refuge in Elkhart, Texas, just south of Palestine. Sierra Club members are especially welcome.
Come for a day or spend the entire weekend. People can come as early as Friday afternoon March 27 and spend the weekend camping out. If you cannot come for the weekend, then spend Saturday or Sunday at Ivy's.
TLC is a land trust which protects valuable wildlife habitat and natural ecosystems throughout Texas. Ivy's was donated to TLC by Ms. Ivy Payne to protect 465 acres on the far western boundary of the Piney Woods. Guided hikes will be provided, camaraderie will pervade, and star watching will be great during late March nights.
Ivy's has drinking water, a covered pavilion, bathrooms, showers, a drive-in camping area, and a kitchen. If you want to stay for the weekend bring a tent, sleeping bag/pad, food, and cooking utensils. The Houston Sierra Club will go to hike and enjoy Ivy's special delights for Saturday only on March 28, 2015. Bring your daypack, hat, water, snacks, lunch, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, field guides, and clothes to fit the weather. Long pants are highly recommended.
This will be a long day trip. It takes about 3 hours to get to Ivy's so we will stay until about 5 p.m. and get back to Houston between 8-9 p.m.
We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a Silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers. If you would like to come you can sign up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meetup site or you can call 713-664-5962 or email brandtshnfbt@juno.com. In case of trip cancellation you will be notified.
For those who want to drive to Ivy's by themselves the directions are as follows:
1) Take Interstate 45 North (I-45) from Houston about 70 miles to Huntsville, Texas.
2) When you get to Huntsville, take the State Highway (SH) 19 exit (take a right).
3) Continue on SH 19 through Riverside, Trinity, and Crockett.
4) At Crockett, SH 19 is joined by U.S. 287 so you will be traveling on SH 19/U.S. 287.
5) Continue through Latexas and Grapeland on SH 19/U.S. 287.
6) As you enter Elkhart, turn left onto SH 294.
7) As soon as you cross the railroad tracks on SH 294 turn right and parallel the railroad tracks for about one-half mile where the road will veer left and become County Road (CR) 133.
8) As you continue on CR 133, the first dirt road on your right is CR 135. About one-half mile further on CR 133, the next dirt road is CR 134. There should be a sign that says "Ivy Payne Wildlife Refuge" at CR 134. Turn right onto CR 134 and drive until you dead-end into the refuge.
If you have any questions about Ivy's and how to get there contact Gloria McElroy at 903-764-2605.

Hike

HIKE - April 4, 2015 (Sat.) - FOREST WALK IN ROY E. LARSON SANDYLANDS PRESERVE

On Saturday, April 4, the Houston Sierra Club will hike at The Nature Conservancy's Roy E. Larson Sandylands Preserve near Silsbee, Texas. This unique part of the Big Thicket is found along Village Creek and has deep, sandy Longleaf Pine forests, desert-like yuccas and prickly pear, and many grasses and wildflowers. The beauty of the white, sandy, bluffs, overlooking the tannin-stained waters of Village Creek, is breath-taking. Photographers should have a great time.
Bring your daypack, hat, water, snacks, lunch, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, field guides, and clothes to fit the weather. Long pants are highly recommended. We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a Silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers. We will be back in Houston about 5 pm. If you would like to come you can sign up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meetup site, call 713-664-5962, or email brandtshnfbt@juno.com. In case of trip cancellation you will be notified.

Hike

WEEKEND OUTING - April 17-19, 2015 (Friday - Sunday) - GUADALUPE RIVER STATE PARK

Guadalupe River State Park is situated about 30 miles north of San Antonio. The river, with banks lined by huge bald cypress trees, is the park's most outstanding natural feature. On its winding path through the park, the river courses over four natural rapids. In the uplands away from the river, the limestone terrain is typical of the Edwards Plateau and is composed of oak and juniper woodlands, with interspersed grasslands. The park includes habitat for the rare golden-cheeked warbler, as well as a variety of other hill country wildlife. There is a network of hiking trails on both sides of the river.
Adjacent to the park is the Honey Creek State Natural Area, which usually offers a two-hour guided tour on Saturday mornings, emphasizing the history, geology, flora and fauna.
Car camping means tent camping at a regular car accessible campground. For further details and to sign up, contact Frank Blake at frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896 (e-mail preferred) or Lorraine Gibson at 281-384-4104 or raineygib@aol.com

OUTINGS GUIDELINES

All Sierra Club events are open to members and visitors alike.   Please join us.

Outings note: The leaders of our trips are serving in a volunteer capacity and assume no responsibility above that of trip organizer. Please respect the wishes of your leader. If you have any medical requirements, it is your responsibility to inform the leader before the trip. While our trip leaders are not paid professionals, they are encouraged to participate in training to increase their skills. All outings officially begin at the trailhead. Leaders cannot assign carpools but may help coordinate ride sharing to conserve energy and to promote camaraderie. Some outings require advance reservations at the destination site as well as from the participant. If you must cancel, inform the leader promptly.

* The events marked with an asterisk are not sponsored by the Sierra Club Houston Group, but are presented here as a courtesy to our members and friends.  The Sierra Club Houston Regional Group makes no representations nor assumes any responsibility for these activities.

Houston Sierra Club Weekend Outings

Weekend outings events of two to three days in duration and involve destinations within a few hundred miles of Houston.    All outings officially begin at the trailhead. Leaders cannot assign carpools but may help coordinate ride sharing to conserve energy and to promote camaraderie. Some outings require advance reservations at the destination site as well as from the participant.

How our outings program works

    Houston Sierra Club outings are open to members and non-members alike. The leaders of our trips serve in a volunteer capacity and assume no responsibility above that of trip organizer. All trips require appropriate physical conditioning.  If you have special medical requirements or any condition that might affect your ability to participate in the trip, it is your responsibility to inform the trip leader before departure. While our trip leaders are not paid professionals, they are encouraged to participate in training to increase their skills. All outings officially begin at the trailhead. If you must cancel a reservation, inform the leader promptly.   The deposit requirements and refund policy of each trip are available from the trip leader.  Please obtain and review them prior to making your deposit.

Trip planning notes:su1.jpg (16738 bytes)

  • Remember to verify any listed dates with the trip coordinator before you make long range vacation plans. Sometimes dates initially selected have to be changed.

  • The airfare cost is quoted separately from the trip cost. When airfare payment is required, participants will make a separate payment to the specified travel agent.

  • The trip cost normally covers all ground transportation, lodging, camping and park fees, and club administrative overhead. Food and camping gear are to be supplied by the participants.

  • Please note that prices listed may be tentative.

    In order to participate in one of the Sierra Club's outings, you will need to sign a liability waiver.  A copy of this waiver can be found here.

    In the interests of facilitating the logistics of some outings, it is customary that participants make carpooling arrangements.  The Sierra Club does not  provide insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them.  Carpooling, ride sharing or any similar activity is strictly a private arrangement among the participants.  Participants assume the risks associated with this travel.

Sierra Club is a California non profit corporation, with "California Seller of Travel" registration number: CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California."

Outings Committee Volunteers

Houston Group Outings and Trips are coordinated by our Group's Outings Committee.  If you'd like to help with these efforts, new members are welcome.  Our Outings Committee meets monthly.  Please see our on-line calendar for the time and place.

ANYTIME OUTINGS

Houston Area Anytime Outings

Even if you're new to Houston, you've probably already realized that we have less open space per capita than most other major cities in the US.  Statewide, less than 3% of land is publicly owned.  Nonetheless, there are a number of great places to get out and enjoy a pretty day.  

Metro Houston - from the Woodlands to Pearland to Sugarland, Brookshire to Baytown, and places in-between

Southeast Texas - from Buffalo to Bridge City, Coldspring to Columbus, Lake Jackson to LaGrange, all around Southeast Texas

OUTINGS LEADER TRAINING

OUTINGS LEADER TRAINING - DATES: ARRANGED WITH PARTICIPANTS We are always looking to maintain and expand our pool of outings leaders. We have two categories of training: Outings Leader (for leading in the field) or Trip Coordinator. Our leader training (OLT 101) provides participants with the background requirements for leading a Sierra Club outing in the field. This class is a qualification to become an asst. leader or leader on our air/bus trips, or to sponsor local day or weekend outings. The trip coordinator class covers all the steps involved in planning one of our air/bus trips. The trip coordinators are the ones who decide on a destination and are then responsible for the overall planning and organization. This includes making air/bus arrangements, publicizing the trip, etc. (One can assist with trip coordinating without having to lead a group in the field). Besides gaining rewarding personal experience, our group leaders and trip coordinators make an invaluable contribution to the Sierra Club. Their efforts create unique opportunities for others to experience and enjoy the natural world. And some trips serve as a source of revenue for the Houston Group, helping to support local conservation activities. If you have an interest in either of these classes, contact Frank Blake, frankblake@juno.com or 713-528-2896. Each class is approximately 2 hours long, and dates are coordinated with participants.

LEADER REIMBURSEMENT FOR CLASSES

The Houston Group Executive Committee has approved the following policy:

Certified Houston Sierra outings leaders can receive a $25 reimbursement toward their First Aid Class certification expenses for each class that they organize and conduct, provided that the class nets at least $25 in income. Reimbursements can not exceed the amount paid out by the outings leader for the First Aid Class. Nor can the amount of reimbursement exceed the income netted by the class. For a class such as Backpacking Basics, which includes both a classroom session and a separate field session, each session would qualify for a $25 reimbursement. There would also be a limit of 2 leaders for any particular class (i.e., if more than 2 leaders assist with a class, only the 2 primary leaders would qualify for the reimbursement).

Last updated: 10/5/2014.   Content 1999-2014 by the Sierra Club.