With the seriousness of COVID-19 still a stark reality in our lives, many of us are still all struggling to find creative ways to manage our time at home while also maintaining our physical and mental well being. As you would expect, outdoor activities like the Millbrook Valley Trails have seen a huge uptick in use over the past 13 months.
Being asked to stay off the trails, just as the weather is getting nice, is a difficult thing for most trail users to hear. This year will again be exceptionally challenging. However, the spring is arguably the worst time of year to be out using our trail network and we are asking our users to stay off the trails for the next few weeks.
Early spring thaw conditions and the large amount of rain we receive this time of year create mud and make trails soft and vulnerable to damage. Ruts and foot holes created now can harden and become permanent aspects of the trail. Stepping or riding around muddy areas tramples plant life, widens trails, and often worsens existing problems.
Our network of mountain bike trails add another layer of complexity. Compared to traditional hiking trails, they have more shape and design as they aim to deliver a specific user experience. Corners and transitions are built to preserve momentum and create fun and flow. Foot holes, smears, ruts, and muck all work against these efforts.
Like with any other craft, our dedicated and hard working team of volunteers at the Millbrook Valley Trails take immense pride in their work. We want nothing more than to see our hard work appreciated by others – but we also want to see it respected. Using a trail when it’s muddy or closed signals a lack of respect to the trail organization, the landowner, and especially our dedicated team.
Unfortunately, it looks like we will be dealing with COVID-19 for at least another few months although there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to need our trails and our trail building volunteers as much as ever in the coming months for another anticipated summer spent at home.
For updates on when the trails will reopen watch for the signage to come down at the trailheads and check our FaceBook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MillbrookValleyTrails/
The Millbrook Valley Trails will still be there for you in a few weeks when the thaw is over — let’s take care of them now by giving them a break.
Robert Jackson, Chair Millbrook Valley Trails
David D’Agastino, Member Millbrook Valley Trails & Founder, Millbrook MTB