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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Stay off muddy trails, recreation managers and advocates warn

UPDATED: Wed., March 3, 2021

A muddy, bike impacted, trail as seen on Wednesday March 3, 2021.  (Courtesy of Rich Landers)
A muddy, bike impacted, trail as seen on Wednesday March 3, 2021. (Courtesy of Rich Landers)

Sun-starved Spokanites are heading to the hills this week and unintentionally damaging trails in the process.

As expected, warm temperatures, combined with melting snow, make trails muddy.

The problem arrives when bikers, hikers or horseback riders pass through a muddy trail leaving deep indents. The indents freeze when the temperature drops, creating ruts that last well into the summer.

An associated problem is people often think it’s better to travel around mud or puddles. That’s worse because it widens the trails and compacts the soil where vegetation is often holding things together.

Spokane County posts signs at conservation areas warning users to stay off muddy trails.

That leaves would-be hikers, bikers and riders two options: Either adventure early (when the ground is still frozen) or choose a different trail.

Consider, are the treads of your bike, or your boots, sinking into the ground? If so, turn around and find another spot.

Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance is urging its members to ride at Camp Sekani, where the soil is thawing slower due to more shade cover and its composition. The group is also urging people to share and report trail conditions on Facebook so that others can see which areas to avoid.

“I am not sure exactly what to say. It is frustrating to see the extra use on the trails and blatant disregard for the trails closed when muddy signs in county parks and beyond,” Dan Wilson, a member of Evergreen East said in a message. “People want to get out and I totally get it.”

To check user-submitted trail conditions, visit facebook.com/evergreeneastMTB/

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