Winter trail etiquette in Boise Foothills
Ridge to Rivers made a public plea Friday to try to protect its trails from damage: Stay out of the Boise Foothills this weekend.
“There’s a lot of water coming off the Foothills at the moment,” Ridge to Rivers manager David Gordon said in a press release. “That means that trails are saturated at best, and running water like small streambeds at worst.”
Keeping users off of muddy trails is a constant battle for trail managers. This year, Ridge to Rivers started a pilot program of closures for the Table Rock trail system when the trails were wet (Table Rock trails are currently closed).
In addition to the damage people and bikes due to trails when they’re muddy, they also tend to go around the worst spots and end up widening the trails.
“Use under these conditions leads to trailside vegetation loss, trail widening and significant tread damage as water bars installed to divert water from the trail become trampled and flattened, losing their effectiveness,” Gordon said.
Adding to the concern: After a long period of cold, wet and snowy conditions, it’s supposed to be nice this weekend with the sun out and temperatures in the 40s. Much of the Foothills are devoid of snow.
“It becomes increasingly difficult for people to restrain themselves when it’s sunny and the temperatures climb into the 40s and 50s — and that’s when we see a lot of unnecessary damage to the trails,” Gordon said.
Gordon asks users to try alternatives such as the Greenbelt, parks and dirt roads like upper 8th Street and Rocky Canyon Road until the Foothills dry. Trail conditions are updated daily on Facebook and on the Ridge to Rivers website.
On Facebook, it’s suggested that users could find some usable, frozen trail for a few hours Sunday morning.
Also, don’t forget that most of the Boise River Wildlife Management Area in the eastern Foothills is closed. More on that here.