Happy Trail

Houston-area's newest trail opens with blossoming plans for the future

Houston-area's newest trail opens with blossoming plans for the future
The Spring Creek Nature Trail is the beneficiary of a national grant. Courtesy Photo

This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

Houston-area hikers can look forward to a smoother path, thanks to recent national grant. The endowment will help build additional bridges along the Spring Creek Nature Trail, a 13-mile unpaved natural surface trail located in The Woodlands. 

The funds come just as the Spring Creek Nature Trail opened to the public on June 1 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The trail runs through Montgomery and Harris County, following the contours of Spring Creek.

The Bayou Land Conservancy — which works to conserve land and protect Lake Houston — is one of nine non-profit organizations across the country to receive a trail grant from the American Hiking Society (and charter sponsor L.L. Bean). The goal of the project is to construct and anchor a boardwalk that can be utilized by multiple groups. The conservancy will engage trail volunteers in the design and build of the boardwalk.

“Building boardwalks on the trail will prevent rutting, soil compaction, and degradation of wetland habitat resulting from trail traffic,” said Jill Boullion, Executive Director of the conservancy, in a statement. “This is a low-impact solution so that trail users can experience Houston’s forested wetlands without impacting them ecologically.”

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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