The drought may be over but the destruction it caused lingers on.  The drought killed millions of trees across east Texas, and dead trees are dangerous to be around.

That's why the U.S. Forest Service has closed a number of popular hiking trails and recreation areas in two east Texas national forests as a temporary safety measure.


A U.S. Forest Service spokesman says all closed trail heads and established hunter camps will remain closed until all dead trees within 150 feet of the perimeter of the area are cut, and areas will be re-evaluated prior to being opened.

He also says trails classified as moderate or high risk will remain closed until all dead trees leaning toward the trail with a potential of falling on the trail are cut.

USFS officials say while some trails and areas may open in as soon as 30 days, other areas that suffered more damage may take up to a year.  They say they hope to reopen Ratcliff Lake, which is estimated to have about 300 to 400 dead and dying trees, in July, although there is no exact timetable.

Here's a link to the USFS website with a complete list of the closed trails.