This advice applies to all user groups motorized and non-motorized for roads and trails. All users have the ability to cause damage to trail surfaces and corridors; the impact varies from user to user.
For example a horse or mule rider will leave large post holes in the trail tread making it uncomfortable to ride or hike when soils dry and dislodging soil that eventually makes it way downhill, adding to erosion. Mountain bikes leave ruts which also make trail use uncomfortable for hikers and other bikers, more importantly those ruts funnel water allowing it to speed up and take more soil downhill, sometimes even rutting through constructed drainage structures. Hikers, bikers, and even equestrian users try to avoid the wet muddy spots moving off the trail onto vegetation making the 30 inch trail 6 feet wide in some places. Motorized users have some of the same impacts and damage to trail treads caused by use during wet conditions and can leave a great trail in rough shape for months or longer.
Please be considerate of the environment and other users by planning accordingly. Granite Basin and Williamson Valley is especially susceptible to wet conditions and should be avoided as well as most sections of the Prescott Circle Trail, there really isn’t any trail in the Prescott area that will be suitable for use after a storm event like we just had.
Trail volunteers have put a tremendous amount of work in to make these trails nice, please help keep them nice by making alternative plans. Consider using a rocky forest road for riding or walk a neighborhood that you have never been too when there is a chance trails could be wet.
The Prescott National Forest and Prescott Trail Safety Coalition are working to have a website that has a rating system for wet trails similar to the fire danger rating system in the future, Until then please use common sense and courtesy when you venture out to potentially wet trails. Turn around if you think you will cause damage.
Forest road users should also be considerate of the damage they can cause on wet and muddy roads.
Trail users can obtain additional information vie the following:
· Prescott NF Forest Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/prescott/
· Prescott Trail Coalition: http://ptsc-2011.blogspot.com/
· City of Prescott: http://www.prescott-az.gov/services/parks/trails/