June is the month we associate with the end of school and the beginning of summer. Did you know it’s also designated as National Trails Month and The Great Outdoors month? The integration of open green spaces and systems of nature paths are some of the signature elements in Howard Hughes communities, and National Trails Month is a great time to celebrate them. With over 300 miles of trails to walk, hike or bike in our Houston communities, Bridgeland, The Woodlands and The Woodlands Hills offers residents many opportunities to feed their wanderlust. We encourage everyone to put on their walking or running shoes and join the nationwide movement by getting outside to explore the trails.
“Our communities are known for their outdoor amenities with miles of trails that encourage an active lifestyle among residents as well as serve to connect neighbors and encourage pedestrian mobility,” said Heath Melton, Executive Vice President of Master Planned Communities, Residential, for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Over the last year, we have welcomed many new residents seeking a place to live with open green spaces and trails that allow them to get outside with their families and enjoy nature. National Trails Month is the perfect time to enjoy the many walking, jogging, and biking paths throughout our Houston communities.”
The designation of National Trails Day was created in 1993 by the American Hiking Society. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts throughout the country participate in a day of advocacy and service to help maintain public land and trails. Trails provide access to nature, and a place where your senses become activated. When you begin to become aware of the little things around you that otherwise might go unnoticed, like the crunching of gravel beneath your feet, bird songs as they call to one another, even the hum of cicada’s wings seem magnified when you are surrounded by green.
Not only are the trails important for pedestrian mobility, they are also important for outdoor recreation, providing physical and emotional health benefits for residents. Trails within Howard Hughes’ Houston communities connect residents to outdoor fitness stations, waterways for boating and fishing, water sports activities, and greenbelts such as Cypress Creek Greenway in Bridgeland and the award-winning George Mitchell Nature Preserve (part of the Spring Creek Greenway) in The Woodlands, and dedicated bike lanes along major thoroughfares in The Woodlands Hills. Some trails provide safe passage through under crossings leading to parks while others will lead you to amenity centers. Residents in all three communities have easy access to timeless places that inspire user engagement.
All three Howard Hughes properties in Houston have received accolades and awards for significant dedication to environmental design. Consistently recognized for creating outdoor spaces to improve lifestyles for the residents that live here, all three communities were masterfully planned setting aside considerable acreage so that residents could embrace the natural world. Most recently, Bridgeland, the best-selling community in Texas received awards for development excellence for Josey Lake from Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI-Houston); a sustainability star for Parkland Square; and a gold award for landscape design from The Texas Nursery Landscape Association (TNLA).
Nearly 28% of The Woodlands is dedicated to open space through its 220 miles of trails, 148 parks, seven championship golf courses and greenbelts. The Woodlands has received numerous past accolades including the Vision Award, Development of Distinction from the Urban Land Institute; American Trails Developer Award; and Environmental Planning Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Texas Chapter Houston Section, to name a few.
In 2020, The Woodlands Hills, a 2,000-acre forested master planned community was recognized with the Houston-Galveston Area Council Parks and Natural Areas Award for Projects over $500,000 for Founders Park, a 17-acre park and amenity center designed to seamlessly blend with the natural beauty of the surrounding land.
Focusing on health and wellbeing in its communities, the team at Howard Hughes has pledged to reach a goal to traverse the 300 miles of trail systems in the three award-winning communities during the month of June. Care to join us in this challenge? Be sure to snap a scenic photo or selfie while enjoying the trails at any of our Houston communities, tell us about your favorite greenspace and tag us on social media: #bridgelandmpc; #thewoodlandshills; #thewoodlands; #HHC.
In keeping with being environmentally responsible and the meaning behind National Trails Day, please remember to leave the trails better than you find them. Bring along a trash bag and collect any trash you encounter. Being good stewards of our green spaces makes for prettier landscapes but also benefits our wildlife and water quality. Happy trails!