Love Local Trails? Say No to Mud This Rainy Season
With the increase in precipitation from December storms in the Sierra Nevada foothills, a number of local trails are taking a beating.
Bear Yuba Land Trust asks the community to be responsible trail users and stay off the trails when the ground is water logged and muddy to avoid further damage to the soil, trail widening, unnecessary erosion and higher maintenance costs. Bikes and horses can cause the most damage, but foot traffic is also destructive when the ground is wet.
“We are appreciative that you use our trails, however when the trail surface is displaced it creates maintenance and erosion issues. During these wet conditions please find a hard surface trail until soggy trails can drain and dry sufficiently for use,” said BYLT’s newest Trails Coordinator, Shaun Clarke.
Already this season, Hirschman Trail is showing big ruts from mountain bicycle use near the pond. Crews will have to bring rock in to raise the grade. Hiker boots can become a problem when people step around mud puddles and widen the trail.
After recent storms, downed limbs littered the Tribute Trail. On Banner Mountain, the Orene Wetherall Trail was closed temporarily after a slide over the weekend. Volunteers quickly corrected the situation but it is still recommended to stay away until there’s a break in the weather and the soil has a chance to drain.
“We don’t recommend they go down there because it’s so wet and muddy. When you get six inches of rain it gets pretty saturated,” said BYLT’s senior Trails Coordinator Bill Haire.
Besides damaging the trail, hiking in a storm can be dangerous. Tree roots can lose their footing with flooding and rockslides. A wind storm can break branches and topple trees overhead.
It might be better to stay home, eat soup and read a book or use alternative trails like the Litton Trail, the paved bike path around Western Gateway Park or the Hardrock Trail at Empire Mine State Historic Park.
“It’s a bummer but that’s the climate here, you have to wait until it dries out,” Clarke said.
To find trails in Nevada County, click here or here. Learn more about Bear Yuba Land Trust at BYLT.org.
(Source: Laura Peterson, Bear Yuba Land Trust)