Even though we’re hydroplaning headfirst from the slip-n-slide of Spring into the heat of Summer, it’s never too late to address the undeniably unsexy topic of trail erosion. So far in 2015, Boulder saw record-breaking February snow while Colorado as a whole had its wettest May on record. Mother Nature seems to be fairly disgruntled at someone around here, as we’ve had to reschedule more bike rides to date than I can remember. All of that snowmelt and rain creates a muddy mess of a trail system. Even if you’re not a mountain biker, chances you trail run or walk your pooch on non-paved paths. That’s why I ask to hold your attention for a little while longer; we’re all culpable yet we’re all able to make a difference.
According to IMBA’s website, studies indicate The Four Common Forms of Soil Degradation on Trails:
Because being awesome is easier if someone tells you exactly what to do, I’ll break it down for you in 3 easily digestible actions:
1. If a trail is already wet, avoid the trail altogether as mud degrades more quickly than dry dirt. Proactively seek out trail conditions in the area you want to use. Here’s a digested list for local Colorado trail info:
2. If you’re already committed to the trail, go right through the middle of the muck. Displacement is pushing mud to the outer edges of what should be a neat and tidy line. Get dirty. Real dirty if necessary. People will wonder what you’ve been up to. Being awesome, that’s what.
3. Pursuant to #2, don’t widen the trail by going around the puddle or mudpit. Sure, you think it’s only you off trail "just this once" with 2 little legs or wheels, but that’s what the 275 other people thought who used that trail the same day.
So in all, avoid wet trails and be a dirty girl. Thank you.
Since you read this far and are surely committed to trail preservation, you deserve a joke:
"I've really had it with my dog," said a gal to her neighbor. "She'll chase anyone on a bicycle"
"Hmmm, that is a problem," said the neighbor. "What are you thinking of doing about it?"
"Guess the only answer is to confiscate her bike!"