The spring melt with its freeze, thaw, refreeze again cycle is here. Spring is a transitionary period on many of our trails and the road network, including groomed snowmobile and ski trails. Grooming has concluded on many winter season trails and roads, with the switch over to “summer use,” however trail users are reminded to know local trail conditions before they go and to tread lightly as many trails and roads are still under snow at this time or melting out with a considerable amount of spring runoff. May 16, as well as June 1 and 16 are common dates for many trails and roads to open up for the full array of seasonal summer trail uses. Some higher elevation trails have a date of July 16 for summer uses. Users can download and find all motor vehicle use maps (MVUM) online at: www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin and click on maps and publications (left-hand side). Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM)’s are free and easily downloaded to your phone and best coupled with a Forest district map.
Given current state and local health and safety guidance, along with the seasonal condition of many trails, users are reminded of the following trail etiquette during this time:
- Seek trails with few people,
- Stick to south facing slopes,
- Stay close to home and
- Head out to get fresh air during off-peak times or throughout the work week,
- Leave plenty of space between you and other trail users and kindly and gently step off if another is approaching.
- Avoid activities that could cause undue stress on first responders and
- Pack in/pack out all that you bring, including dog waste.
Forest offices and services are primarily taking place virtually, one can call their local ranger district office for trail conditions or to seek further information www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin, click on Contact Us.