Caution urged during spring trail use
VERMONT- The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation and its partners remind hikers of mud season at this time of year and ask for the public’s help protecting Vermont’s trails. This year, COVID-19 is still a dominant concern, even with more people vaccinated. FPR and partners are asking for the public’s assistance with making smart choices to protect both public health and trails.
Vermonters should be aware that mud season conditions have begun and will persist in many places until Memorial Day or later: trail closures may be in effect for several weeks.
The wet soils on and around hiking trails are very susceptible to erosion. To protect fragile soil and surrounding vegetation, some trails may be temporarily closed by the land manager. Please respect trail closure signage.
Hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage of our beloved hiking trails. If a trail is muddy, even if it is not officially closed, please find an alternative, less vulnerable area to hike in.
The period of snowmelt and muddy trails varies considerably throughout Vermont depending on elevation, solar orientation, depth of snowpack, and amount of spring rainfall. Even as it warms up in town, mountains still hold cold, wet, snowy, and icy conditions that may persist deep into spring. Hikers who find themselves at high elevations will need better traction and warmer clothes than the valley may suggest.
If a hiker encounters conditions they are not prepared for, turn around. Especially now, emergency responders and medical providers do not need the additional burden and risk of a search and rescue operation or to treat a hiking-related injury.
To help take care of the trails, contact the trail manager and consider volunteering.
Check out a list of hikes better suited for mud season at https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/mud-season or visit www.trailfinder.info or www.greenmountainclub.org.
People can also call the Green Mountain Club visitor center at (802) 244-7037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.