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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, April 26, 2019

DEC and BETA advise mountain bikers to avoid trails during mud season

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Barkeater Trails Alliance are urging mountain bikers to avoid trails and closed seasonal access roads in the Adirondacks until trails and roads have dried and hardened.

Wet and muddy trails are easily rutted and damaged through use, according to BETA.

“Mud season in the Adirondacks is a very sensitive time for mountain bike trails,” said Josh Wilson, Executive Director of Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA). “Some trails dry-out relatively quickly in the spring or after periods of rain, while others remain muddy for weeks on end regardless of weather. Riding on wet and muddy trails can cause lasting damage very quickly. If you are leaving ruts in the trail surface, the soil is definitely too wet to be riding. It’s time to call it a day and wait for better conditions.”

Trailside vegetation and trail surfaces are especially vulnerable to degradation and erosion during this time of year. Biking on muddy trails damages tree roots, erodes slopes, and widens trails, making them difficult for riding. DEC asks bikers to help protect the trails, natural resources, and surrounding habitats by checking trail conditions and advisories and avoiding all wet, muddy trails.

Conditions reports for mountain bike trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and other networks on private and municipal land can be found online at www.betatrails.org. BETA also utilizes Trail Forks, a website and smart phone app with trail conditions, maps, recommended rides, and other trail information. Mountain bikers are encouraged to check trail conditions reports before planning a ride.

Bikes should also not be taken on seasonal access roads that are closed for mud season. These are also best left to dry and harden before being used.

DEC also advises that hikers use trails below 2,500 feet during mud season.

Check the DEC website for other tips on outdoor recreation in the spring (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/113437.html) and weekly updates of information on backcountry conditions in the Adirondacks at (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html).


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