No one likes to be told what to do. We get it. But we are urging you to resist riding muddy trails.
We know this topic is controversial and nuanced. This is the Adirondack Mountains – if we didn’t ride when it was wet, we’d NEVER ride, right? Well, kind of, BUT there is a very important distinction that we need to make between the state of the trails now – saturated, soft and delicate, versus the state of the trails in July after a thunderstorm – hardened, stable and tacky. Read a science-y explanation here: Mud Season Unlike Any & here: Just Say No To Mud
This is the time of year when trails are at the HIGHEST RISK of erosion and long-term damage. The soil is exceptionally vulnerable during freeze/thaw periods. Damage done now before the trails are ready creates a bigger back log of maintenance which means less progress on scheduled projects and new trails and features. Sad face.
And if you think you can tip-toe your way from dry section, to dry section, your good intentions aren’t enough. Walking through the mud results in footprints and ruts that essentially act as moisture traps, further delaying drainage and becoming annoying cemented bumps when finally dry. Walking around the mud causes trail widening and is detrimental to vegetation and difficult to repair. Keep singletrack single! So unless you can levitate, please, please, please be patient.
As things dry out, check Trailforks and our social media for updated conditions. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to update everything in real time, so we ask that you use your best judgement when you head out. Is there standing water? Do you see ruts or footprints? Are you leaving either? If you are, turn back. Better yet, turn back and sign up for a volunteer trail day upon reaching your vehicle. It happens. We’ve all been there. Let’s try our best.
Mud season sucks, but waiting is the right move. Hit some gravel or pavement. Sh*t talk on Zwift. Put your pandemic sourdough baking skills to good use. Do literally anything else. And be grateful we have trails that we are so eager to get back to.
Resist! The BETA community, trail crew and volunteers thank you.