Muddy Trail Etiquette
Tis the season of rain and the occasional snow; here are a few important things you need to know about maintaining muddy trail etiquette, ensuring the safety of you and fellow park users, and the integrity of our beloved forest.
Can’t Go Around it, Got to go THROUGH IT
Swishy, Swashy, Swishy, Swashy… you’re not going on a bear hunt, but the message still applies, it is critical that you walk THROUGH the mud – and particularly not off trail and around it.
Arriving to the hike with the appropriate footwear is the first step you can take; be sure to wear hiking boots or wellies that are designed to get dirty!
Why Muddy My Boots?
Trails are cut with precision so that they do not hold/pool mud – and at the very least minimizes such – but when people consistently walk off the trail and around the puddles, this widens them and in fact makes the puddle deeper, resulting in an even bigger mess that will take even longer to dry.
Not only does this defeat the purpose and prolong the problem, it also degrades the root system of the trees and compromises their stability. High winds and shallow/exposed root systems are a serious threat to hikers!
Paved Road Alternatives
If you prefer not to muddy your boots, an even safer and park-friendly option would be to enjoy one of the many paved roads throughout Percy and Edwin Warner Parks.
Take a spin on the 1.6 mile loop around the Allée, or go farther on the 5.8 or 11.2 that wind through Percy Warner Park; the Old Roadway is also a beautiful tree-lined trail within Edwin Warner.
Remember Your Parking Manners, Please!
So too is it more important than ever to park in paved/gravel lots instead of blazing unsanctioned parking places which quickly result in muddy puddles all over our meadows and grasslands.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before setting out on your adventure, and preparing for unexpected conditions. Pop up storms and high winds are not uncommon, and can be dangerous. Remain vigilant, and enjoy!