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.
Trails to definitely avoid (due to higher clay content) when conditions appear marginal: