Leave No Trace: Be ready to get muddy

5:00 a.m. on April 19, 2011 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Leave No Trace: Be ready to get muddy"

What effect does a footstep have? The answer is, it depends. A footstep means different things to a tree sapling and meadow grass, to leaf litter and cryptobiotic soil, to a gravely riverbank and muddy springtime trail.

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/articles/leave-no-trace-get-muddy.html

6:47 a.m. on April 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Do we practice Leave No Trace at Carbon County Environmental Education Center? What do you think? As we walked this day, I could hear little voices saying "No, stay in the middle!" whispered from the group behind me. By the time we got back, there were quiet chants of "Leave No Trace, Leave No Trace..." Proud.


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8:10 a.m. on April 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Great picture, f_klock!

6:02 p.m. on April 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Something often left out of LNT discussions is the problem of invasive species. Before you leave the Trailhead in your car, you should clean your boots. Some places where I have run into this - here in California, we have a serious problem with SOD (Sudden Oak Death). This is a complex infestation that is transported from area to area, even within Northern California, in the dust and mud on boots, among other ways that humans transport the disease. It affects California Live Oaks (as the name implies), but also other species of oak, madrone, and even to some extent a number of conifers.

Another species that is a real pest is what is variously called Scotch Broom and French Broom (very similar species). This plant can quickly take over a meadow with plants 5 or 6 feet high, and even in the shade of trees.

Several molluscs are transported on watercraft from lake to lake/stream/reservoir, and even from kayaks used in the SFBay (coming from the large container ships that are carrying goods from Asia). The eggs are so tiny that they are not seen easily by eye, but will adhere to canoes and kayaks. 

On my return from expeditions and trips that had stops in Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America, I have had the Department of Agriculture people at the airports have me take my boots out of my luggage to prove they had been cleaned. The big question was if I had been on a farm (they didn't seem to be as concerned about deer droppings for some reason as cattle droppings).

Surprisingly, earthworms are not native to North America, but were apparently brought to the Atlantic coast in the dirt used as ballast in sailing ships that came from Europe intending to transport huge amounts of gold in their eastward journey. There was a discussion of this in a recent issue of National Geographic in an article about the English settlements in the 16th and 17th centuries.

7:16 p.m. on April 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I use to go 4 wheeling a lot, but have stop and used hiking as my main enjoyment.  I lived in Colorado for many years and I can see a trail on my families property that I drove over 32 years ago.  I was the last one to drive this path and it's still there, I thought it was cool back then but now I know it was wrong.  I feel hiking has open my eyes to the damage that is caused by offroading, but also I can see damage caused by hiking.  In Chula Vista I stay on the trails, I remove backpacks and clothes from the trails every time I hike in this area, but I do use rubber gloves.

8:17 p.m. on April 20, 2011 (EDT)
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In the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, theres a sign that says, "In the Desert plants grow by the inch, and die by the Foot". Underfoot they mean.

1:54 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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To help support this and stay somewhat dry a good pair of gators is a good spring time purchase, they usually go on sale around this time. While they may not keep one totally dry they will help prevent the grit, sand and little rocks that manage their way in around the top of our boot causing that hiking ending blister or small cut on your ankle. 

Promote staying on the trail with young kids I tell my 5 year old to stay out of the mud unless we are hiking on the trail, hence we do alot of hiking, what 5 year old does not enjoy a chance to walk through the mud!

8:29 p.m. on April 29, 2011 (EDT)
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I'll add one more point for muddy spring hiking:

Be prepared to hike a different trail (or not at all).

Occasionally a trail is just too muddy and would be ruined by use, and should be avoided. Some are even closed during mud season.

July 25, 2014
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