While we here at Gearist don’t spend much time on soapbox speeches, this is the time of the year when we find ourselves thinking about one in particular. In this case, what we’d like to bring up is the use of muddy and soaked trails. Whether you’re heading out for a mountain bike ride, a run or even a simple hike, doing so on a muddy trail is bad news.

When a trail is built/formed/broken, those doing the planning do so with as little impact on nature as possible. This is both to leave surrounding flora and fauna undisturbed but also because a mud-choked trail doesn’t stop breaking down once we stop using it – it can have a lasting and evolving effect. For instance, if you ride a mountain bike on a muddy trail the tires will form ruts. These ruts will create water flow in subsequent precipitation events that is more often than not, incongruous with the natural way in which water would drain and thus, the trail and surrounding areas can erode more quickly.

Another way this is bad for trail is due to the fact that, generally speaking, we don’t like to get dirty. What we mean by this is that it’s most of our nature that when we find ourselves on a muddy trail, we like to find a dry spot. More often than not, these dry places to run, ride or hike are on the sides of the trail. So, what was a 36-inch wide trail becomes a 40-inch wide trail. Once the 40-inch wide trail becomes mud choked, we go wider still to find a new dry path and the process repeats itself and the trail eats its way into an unplanned, and sometimes dangerous area.

Look, we’re not going to get on some environmental high horse but we will take a second to say that if you’re reading this, and if you’re a fan of Gearist, then it’s very likely that you love being outside. It’s not about beliefs or anything like that, it’s simply about respecting the places where you find adventure and making sure that we can all enjoy them for a long time to come!

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