Spring Trail Etiquette to Protect our Trail Systems
The loads of snowfall in the Upper Peninsula this year was perfect for skiing, snowshoeing and snowbiking, but it really hinders mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners who want to hit the trails early this year. It is important to use some restraint on your early season rides and hikes as you can leave ruts, widen the trails and cause damage that takes a lot of work to repair.
U.P. trails are susceptible to moisture, so it’s particularly important that trail users practice trail etiquette to protect wet trails. By not riding or hiking wet trails you can prevent damage that affects the quality of the trails. Sometimes it’s hard to determine if a trail is too wet to ride until you’ve officially arrived. Use these few basic spring mountain biking tips and become a good steward while exploring trail systems in the U.P.
If mud is sticking to your heels or wheels, turn around and ride another day. If the snow has just melted or we have a heavy rain, it is probably best to stay off the trails. Ruts really do suck, and an incredible amount of time and energy goes into keeping our trail systems in good shape. A little patience in the spring can go a long way.
When trails first open for the season, it’s not uncommon to encounter the occasional puddle or small patch of mud. While it’s tempting to go around to keep your bike or shoes nice and clean, you should instead stick to the established trail and go straight through the puddle. Going around permanently widens the trail, creating damage that’s far more difficult to fix.
Depending on where you are riding there are different trail organizations that do a wonderful job posting trail conditions for riders. You can also call any of the Down Wind Sports locations for up to the minute trail conditions!
For Munising check out Munising Bay Trail Network
For Marquette check out Noquemanon Trail Network
For the Keweenaw check out Keweenaw Trail Network
Every trail, even the professionally built trails need maintenance. Please don’t assume that someone will come around and fix all of the ruts left by bikers. Our systems are run by volunteers, who wake up early on weekends to repair and rebuild the singletrack. Interested in helping out? You can support the bike trails in the Upper Peninsula by becoming members, buying trail passes, or volunteering during work sessions. Let's love our trails!