Many Sisters folks are eager to get out hiking as spring struggles to get started in Sisters Country. However, Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) is asking hikers to stay off muddy trails.

A mild winter and freeze-thaw cycles have left the area trails with a surface of soft mud in many locations. Riding, running, or hiking on muddy trails creates tread damage that requires many hours of volunteer time to repair. Deep ruts and footprints are unsightly and create low spots for snow or rain to settle.

To avoid these puddles, trail users tend to divert around the muddy patches and thereby inadvertently do even more damage to the delicate soils and plants adjacent to the trails. The resulting scarring and widening degrades both the quality of the tread and the aesthetics of the trail experience.

STA is asking users to keep in mind some tips for using the trails responsibly:

•?Ride early in the day before the ground thaws.

•?Turn around when you encounter soft trail conditions.

•?If you encounter a section of soft trail, ride or walk through the middle of the trail tread rather than going around.

•?To some degree, fat tire bikes can be used in softer conditions. Use good judgement, if the trails are a muddy mess, find another place to ride.

Ian Reid, Sisters District Ranger, says, “the Forest Service appreciates the support and voluntary compliance in ensuring the sustainability of our trail systems.”

STA joins him in that sentiment. For more information visit Sisters Trails.