Trail Conservation & Preservation

These days, more and more people try to escape from the rat-race of weekly living and escape into the countryside for a few days rest and recuperation. Who can blame them? With our world being so full of computers, emails, mobile phones and text messages it can seem like we’re pretty much on-call 24/7, and that’s not good news for anybody, so managing to escape into the wilderness for a few days, or even a few hours can make life simply more worthwhile.

Hitting the Trail

Whilst on the one hand it’s great that there are so many trails around for people to enjoy either on foot, on two wheels or on horse back, on the other hand it can be a fine line between allowing the people to enjoy the benefits of the wild open countryside, and maintaining the fine balance of the environment. It’s important that everyone is aware of the possible damage they are causing on these trails, and do everything they can to minimize the effect they’re having.

There are great advantages in keeping these trails open:

  • Physical exercise
  • The opportunity to experience and be “at one” with nature
  • Family bonding
  • Preservation of trails (yes, some of these trails are kept open and maintained specifically for hiking or cycling purposes)
  • Economic benefits – local businesses really do benefit from hikers and bikers – shops, restaurants, hotels etc.

Trail Conservation and Preservation

While it is pretty obvious that things change with constant use, it is important that we try to manage those changes and keep them to a minimum wherever possible on the delicate eco-systems of the land we want to enjoy, without spoiling it forever.

The environmental impact of hikers, bikers and horse back riders on trails fall into four major categories:

  • wildlife
  • vegetation
  • water
  • soil

In dry weather, hikers and bikers cause similar amounts of damage on the land, (horses are of course, much bigger, much heavier, they eat the vegetation and also leave their calling cards around wherever they feel like it) but in wet weather the tyres on the mountain bikes can really cut grooves into the trails and cause damage, especially on muddy trails skidding up and down hills.  It’s important that anyone using these trails should stick to the correct route and not deviate “off-track” where even more damage can so easily be cause.

There are some certain simple rules which we should all follow, in order to enjoy the natural environment and make sure that it remains the same for as long as possible. We should stay on the track, follow any rules which are shown on the trail (fires, camping etc) and always, always, always, take rubbish home with you.

Many trails have groups of people who dedicate themselves to preserving and conserving the glorious tracks around America, and they’re always looking for more volunteers to help them in their quest. If you want to enjoy this type of recreation, shouldn’t you really be willing to help to keep it that way.

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