Opinion: Reminder of winter trail etiquette, says Canton resident
To the Editor:
It’s great that North Country Now has outlined some local trails for people to get their winter exercise on and I enjoy seeing all the recent pictures of folks XC skiing.My wife and I are avid fat tire bike riders and we have spent countless hours trying to maintain area trails for riding. It is surprising how few people pay attention to trail etiquette and it seems like a good time for folks to educate themselves on proper winter walking/hiking.
Walking on snow covered trails in the winter time, without the use of snowshoes or skis, ruins the surface of the trail. What is commonly known as a “post hole” occurs when an individual walks on a trail with bare boots and leaves deep depressions in the trail.
Not only does it do (oftentimes irreparable) damage to the trail surface, but it can cause hazards for others who are trying to ski, snowshoe or ride a fat tire bike.
There is a certain irony to this situation, because the people who are bare booting on trails would be floundering through knee deep snow if others hadn’t “groomed” the trails in advance.
According to the “Winter Hiking Safety” page on the DEC website, skis or snowshoes should be worn with snow depths over eight inches. Many of the trails highlighted in the article on North Country Now are on public land and are free to all.
I say get outside and have fun in the snow, but please do it responsibly so that we can all enjoy what’s left of the winter months.