Saturday, September 18, 2021

Tips for Taking Care of Our Hiking Trails

Back in February I shared my friend
Holly's Hiking Manifesto. She's been embarking on the 52 Hike Challenge this past year. She had some stunning realizations on one of her recent hikes--Hike 32 that she's allowing me to share here. May her words inspire you to make good decisions while out hiking to help protect the lands as you move through the end of summer & the autumn. Have your hiking adventures keep you and our planet in good shape!

#Hike32 last week was beautiful but also made me very, very sad. 

The state park I have frequented often over the last 2 years has been one of my favorite places to hike when I just want to do a short hike close to home. I've hiked there regularly, and I know the trails there better than I know my way around my neighborhood!
But since I started hiking there, I've seen how the trails have changed--especially with increased traffic during the pandemic while people have flocked to outdoor spaces. Each time I visit, the damage and erosion has gotten exponentially worse. It's not that I want to discourage people from getting outside, but I also don't want to contribute to the abuse that some of these areas suffer from with the overcrowding.

If you are recreating outside, please remember if it has rained recently to stick to paved trails when possible. Also, please. please, please stay on the blazed trails! When you stray from the marked paths, you are contributing to the damage and erosion I mentioned earlier! I hiked the same trail I did last week only a month ago, and there were parts of it this trip that were almost unrecognizable because of obvious heavy traffic and people not staying on the path (after just a month!)

If there are faster hikers that you want to allow to pass you, try to step to the side in an area that isn't too fragile. And just step to the side and STOP - don't keep frolicking through the forest off of the path! And if you are the one doing the passing, please avoid just traipsing through the forest on unmarked paths to do it! Wait for the people in front of you to step aside! It's also totally fine and appropriate to ask nicely if you can pass. We're actually all totally capable of sharing the trails in a respectful and responsible way! 

Anyway, for now I think I'll be seeking some less trafficked trails but I will still be making every effort to take care of every trail I set foot on! 

Happy hiking!

Special thanks to my friend Holly for once again sharing your wit and wisdom and love of hiking and the great outdoors. The picture credit goes to Holly! The title photo created at

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