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Trail closure and you.


It's the announcement we all hate to hear, but need to respect. Wet trails don't care if it is the only day of the week you can ride, or if you have driven a long way, or if you just got a new bike and are desperate to try it out. A closed trail is a closed trail, and we close them for a reason. Why? Please read on... Why do you close trails? There are two types of erosion that can damage a trail- Natural erosion and user erosion. Natural erosion comes from Mother Nature’s constant attempt to level the surface of a trail. Water, wind and gravity wear away at surfaces causing erosion. User erosion comes in many forms, a biker skidding a tire in an attempt to slow quickly, a hiker walking around a puddle and widening it because they don’t want wet feet, or a horse punching deep holes in a wet trail. Although erosion is a natural and unstoppable fact of life it can be slowed to mimic a more natural process through proper design and construction.The Vernon Trails Trail Crew will practice responsible “trail closures” when they deem the trails susceptible to damage of any kind. Who are the trails closed to? The short answer is- EVERYONE.

Probably the most asked question our trail crew will receive is whether trail closures apply to all the user groups or just a select group. Any user group that makes contact with a trail surface creates impact on that trail surface. Regardless of whether it’s a 180 pound hiker, a 75 pound kid on a bike, or a 1000 pounds worth of horse and rider, we are ALL capable of damaging the trail.

Simple rule of thumb- If you see mud building up on your tires, your heels, or your hooves, STAY OFF THE TRAILS. How long will the trails be closed? Only Mother Nature dictates the length of closure. In the early Spring, we have to wait till all the frost heaves. Frost heave is the result of pressure created from a combination of freezing temperatures and soil defrosting. The fluctuating freezing and thawing conditions heave, or lift, the soil, which is often characterized by deep cracking of the soil.

During the late spring/summer/early fall, a rough formula we use for our area trails is for every inch of rain, trails will be closed for 24 hours. But this isn't a hard and fast rule. It is best to check our website and Trailforks before going. We are pretty good about keeping it up to date.

The Vernon Trails Trail Crew will monitor daily the conditions of the trails and make a determination on when it is safe and sustainable to open the trails.

VISIT BLUEDOG CYCLES TO SEE CURRENT TRAIL CONDITIONS How do I learn more about Trail Building, and how can I become more involved? Yep, your local Trail Crew is just about the coolest group you could become involved with. We are 100% volunteer run and historically grassroots funded. That said, we have 12 nationally certified trail builders on our team, and 1000’s of hours of experience. In just 9 years, we went from not one legal mile of “shared use” singletrack, to helping to design, build and maintain over 50 miles of amazing trail on 8 different properties, both public and private. We will have regular trail building outings on the calendar and have the opportunity to send interested folks to a certification program in the Summer. We work with several other trail crews around the region and there is no shortage of education or participation opportunities.

If the idea of rolling up your sleeves and working hard in the dirt is not your idea of being involved, TRAILS COST MONEY. We have the opportunity locally through amazing access to develop many, many miles of trails to be used by several different user groups. The major obstacle that we have faced is lack of financing. If you are interested in helping to continue to maintain the trails we have, see more being built, and have the financial means, please make a donation to the Vernon Trails’ Trail Building Fund. If you have any questions, or are interested in volunteering, please VISIT VERNON TRAILS or contact Pete at 637-6993.


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