A mild winter and repeated freeze-thaw cycles have left Sisters-area trails soft and muddy.
Due to the conditions, Sisters Trails Alliance is asking trail users in Sisters to avoid using the pathways when conditions are muddy.
STA notes that riding, running or hiking on muddy trails creates tread damage that requires many hours of volunteer time to repair. Deep ruts created by mountain bike tires and footprints are unsightly and create low spots for melting 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 reports.
STA is asking users to keep in mind some tips for using the trails responsibly in the current conditions:
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 the soft spots.
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.
Using a donation from Casey Meudt and Blazin Saddles Cycle N Style, STA volunteers purchased and posted signs with this information at key entry points to the Peterson Ridge Trail system and other area trails, notifying users to be aware of trail conditions.