Monday, January 4, 2010

loving it to death

most of us use the foothills trails because we find something special there. the ability to access nature this close to town is a wonderful thing. many of us keep our bodies (and minds) healthy by getting out there regularly and get cranky if we miss our daily hike, bike, run.

given how strongly people feel about the trails, it surprises me that it's seemingly so difficult to get the concept of stewardship across. i know that people feel strongly about being able to use the trails when we want the way we want to, but in doing that we may destroy the very things that make this a special place.

this is the trail up around the pond- still icy.

red fox heading up past the pond. note that although it's obvious that there's been lots of traffic the sandy soil is holding up pretty well.

unlike the soil on chickadee. this is frozen, but someone ran on it when it wasn't and put some nice divots in the trail for the rest of us. these trails become ankle breakers. sandy soil will regain a flat aspect when things warm up but mud holds the shape a long time and is very hard to run, ride or hike on.

this is coming down chickadee to meet red fox. you can see how nicely this is going to chop up if people continue to use when it's wet.

here's my shoe from today- you can see that there's a bit of sand, but i'm not picking up mud- the trails were frozen enough to use.

here's the other thing that happens. people start a trail next to the trail because the trail proper is icy, or too wet or too packed down or choppy because it was used when it was wet. over time, the vegetation between the trails is trampled an disappears, widening the trail and the whole process starts over again.

then there's the matter of trash left behind. all of this from the beginning of the off leash area up to the junction with chickadee. not far. dog poop is a health hazard, it smells bad and it is really rude to leave it for other trail users. period. dog owners have a responsibility to pick up after their pets everywhere.

it seems to me that we should care for our trails, want to leave them in good condition for other users and for future generations. nothing stays pristine, there will be some degradation from use, but we can sure do a better job of maintaining what we have.

No comments: