Trails to definitely avoid (due to higher clay content) when conditions appear marginal:
Using trails when they are muddy is the leading cause of trail damage on the Ridge to Rivers system.
Here are the Top 5 reasons that you should not use muddy trails:
- When trails are muddy, users invariably travel along the adjacent vegetation to avoid the mud. This tramples and kills trail side vegetation and widens our trails - and thus we lose the single track character of our trail system.
- As trails widen, erosion increases and the trails become increasingly difficult to maintain sustainability. Trail crews cannot adequately repair this type of damage in the Foothills.
- Drainage structures put in by trail crews to divert water and curtail erosion are trampled and flattened - making them ineffective and again increasing erosion along our trail system. No one likes to travel along deeply eroded trails - so they travel to the side and create additional, parallel routes. This again leads to loss of vegetation and eventual increased erosion.
- Those deep foot prints, hoof prints, tire tracks and yes - even paw prints invariably freeze and become ankle twisting, teeth chattering experiences for those trail users trying to do the right thing - travel on trails when they are frozen (or dry).
- We are trying to maintain and manage the Ridge to Rivers trail system not only for ours, but for future generations. Continued irresponsible use of our trails will ensure one thing - that our children will not be able to enjoy the experiences that we currently have.
Please help up preserve the integrity of our trail system by doing the following:
- Stay off of muddy trails. Pay attention - if you are leaving tracks, turn back.
- In winter, ride or hike early in the morning when trails are frozen hard.
- Check daily trail conditions on our website or on Facebook to know whether you should be on the trails during winter months.
- If you encounter short stretches of mud, ride or walk through them. Don’t leave the trail as this kills trailside vegetation and leads to trail widening.