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Nice weather doesn't mean the trails in the foothills have dried out

Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 20:17:21-05

BOISE, Idaho — It's easy to have a little spring fever with the weather the Treasure Valley will experience this week, but just because the weather is nice doesn't mean the trails in the foothills aren't still muddy.

Ridge to Rivers manages the beloved trails in the foothills and they tell us last year there was an increase of 230% of usage, but all that love also brought its share of problems.

As more people enjoy the foothills Ridge to Rivers wants to alert the public that they need to stay off of muddy trails because it causes damage to the trails.

"It means that the trail crew instead of being out building new trails in the spring and the fall has to be out repairing trails that were damaged by muddy use," said Ranger Pete Ritter.

Walking on muddy trails creates ruts and uneven surfaces, and most people walk around the muddy part which kills vegetation causing erosion which leads to the trails widening.

"The trails are not as aesthetically pleasing if they look like a sidewalk as opposed to a single tracked trail."

So what trails should you use? Ridge to Rivers features several all-weather trails and several sandy trails in the lower foothills that remain dry through most of the year, here's a link to those trails.

But right now almost all of the trails in the upper foothills, trails like Polecat which face north and trails that go through draws where the sun can't get to most of the day are still muddy.

Ridge to Rivers does a daily trails report on the website and their Facebook page to help people figure out if they should use the trails or pick an alternative like the Greenbelt.

When we were at Cottonwood Trail we saw some people emerging from the muddy trails and it's clear that some people just don't know despite signs being everywhere.

So we are trying to raise awareness to help people recreate and enjoy the trails while producing the least amount of damage possible.

“Everybody has to remember that in the last two weeks we have had 14 inches of snow," said Ritter. "You can use the trails if you pick the right trails.