COLORADO SPRINGS — Sunny and seventy is in the forecast for the weekend in Southern Colorado. There is a warning if you are heading out on trails because the sun is melting snow from not that many days ago. It turns dirt to mud. "Dirt is a durable surface, but once it becomes mud it's no longer durable,” said Colorado Springs Parks TOPS Ranger, Madison Peddy. Muddy trails are much more easily damaged.
The issue is the reason for signs reading “muddy conditions present,” recently placed at many open space parks across Colorado Springs. "When you recreate outside, there comes a responsibility to do so in a sustainable, thoughtful way," said Peddy. The signs are a visual cue for hikers and bikers to plan routes that avoid vulnerable muddy trails. The issue is more common during the spring when Colorado weather swings from wet to dry Footprints and bike tires cut into mud, but the bigger issue is people trying to get around the mud and damaging sensitive vegetation on the edge of the trail. The best plan is to choose another path when you know a trail is extra muddy. There is a back-up alternative when starting out on what appears a dry trail and later unintentionally encountering a muddy section. "We also would ask that people go directly through the mud, rather than around it,” said Peddy, “Because when you go around it, it widens the trail and damages the vegetation."
Mud on boots and bike tires can be washed off in minutes. Damaged vegetation can take years to recover.