Monday, February 16, 2009

Are You an Inconsiderate Trail User?

This past weekend, a horse rider decided it would be a good idea to ride their horse down the middle of our groomed ski trails. This left behind a trail of 6 inch holes for 1/2 mile. The damage can't be repaired until another significant snow storm arrives, impacting hundreds of trail users.

I guess I have a hard time understanding of why a trail user thinks leaving deep marks in the trails anytime of year is 'okay'. Did they think about the 6 hours volunteer groomers spent making the trail ready for skiiers or the 2-3 hours they will spend attempting to fix the holes left behind?

You really need to only obey three rules on any trail:

1 - don't damage the trails or cause others to have to clean up your damage

2- don't remove or harm the flora and wildlife

3- don't ruin the trail experience of others

Regrettably this trail user violated all three of these.

So, the GCE and Friend of Libby Hill are in the process for updating usage rules for pets on the trails. The first step is as follows:

Horseback Riders - Please stay off all ski and hiking trails. You may ride on Old Libby Hill Road or the snowmobile/ATV trails. The following trails are no longer available for use by horses:

Turkey Trot
Moose Odyssey
Deer Run
Holmquist Hollow
Harold Libbey
Ghost Trail
Winter Trail
School Ball Fields

These rules will stay in place year round because of damage to trails done by horses over the past 6 months. This includes:

1- erosion of Harold Libbey Trail at meadow crossing
2- trail damage in November after rains on Moose Odyssey and Turkey Trot
3- winter riding on groomed ski trails


Anonymous said...

Are you sure it was a horse leaving tracks on the ski trail or a moose? I can't imagine anyone wanting to take a horse out on a packed ski or snowmobile trail. The footing would be unsafe. I'm thinking it could very well have been a moose as I have seen moose tracks and manure on Libby Hill Trails before.

Steve said...

Yes, we are sure it was a horse. The prints were only on the trail and didn't go off into the woods and the imprints were not from a split hoofed animal. Moose have a distinctive split track like a deer.

As a followup, we have allowed Horses on our wider ski trails this summer on the condition that they avoid wet conditions and clean up after the horses. This has been working better for the most part. We do notice one rider continues to ride on a narrow hiking trail and that horse manure is accumulating on trails. We will need riders to clean up after themselves if they want to continue to ride the trails. Our policies are clearly posted at 18 locations on the trails and on our website.