No one likes to be told what to do. We get it. But we are urging you to resist riding muddy trails.
We know this topic is controversial and nuanced. This is the Adirondack Mountains - if we didn’t ride when it was wet, we’d NEVER ride, right? Well, kind of, BUT there is a very important distinction that we need to make between the state of the trails now - saturated, soft and delicate, versus the state of the trails in July after a thunderstorm - hardened, stable and tacky. Read a science-y explanation here: Mud Season Unlike Any & here: Just Say No To Mud
This is the time of year when trails are at the HIGHEST RISK of erosion and long-term damage. The soil is exceptionally vulnerable during freeze/thaw periods. Damage done now before the trails are ready creates a bigger back log of maintenance which means less progress on scheduled projects and new trails and features. Sad face.
And if you think you can tip-toe your way from dry section, to dry section, your good intentions aren’t enough. Walking through the mud results in footprints and ruts that essentially act as moisture traps, further delaying drainage and becoming annoying cemented bumps when finally dry. Walking around the mud causes trail widening and is detrimental to vegetation and difficult to repair. Keep singletrack single! So unless you can levitate, please, please, please be patient.
As things dry out, check Trailforks and our social media for updated conditions. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to update everything in real time, so we ask that you use your best judgement when you head out. Is there standing water? Do you see ruts or footprints? Are you leaving either? If you are, turn back. Better yet, turn back and sign up for a volunteer trail day upon reaching your vehicle. It happens. We’ve all been there. Let’s try our best.
Mud season sucks, but waiting is the right move. Hit some gravel or pavement. Sh*t talk on Zwift. Put your pandemic sourdough baking skills to good use. Do literally anything else. And be grateful we have trails that we are so eager to get back to.
Resist! The BETA community, trail crew and volunteers thank you.
Is that you, Spring? March 2022
The birds are singing. The dogs are a muddier, smellier version of themselves. We haven’t heard a snowblower in 48 hours. Is that you, Spring? Happy gross transition season - when we have more daylight but aren’t quite sure what to do with it yet. (Hint: Trail work!).
We are gearing up for an ambitious trail season and the more hands to help, the better.
Think of it like this: Every time you boost that rock on All-In, or catch the morning light on Pisgah, you're taking a little piece of the outdoors with you. Every time. And you're better, happier and healthier for it. Moods are lifted. Beers taste better. Steps are pepped.
So what are you doing to ensure the trails are better, happier and healthier, too?
A Final Jackrabbit Rally 2022 Update!
Huge thanks to everyone who participated in the Jackrabbit Rally. We created this choose-your-own-ski-adventure event in 2021 with the goal of celebrating the long and storied history of Adirondack ski touring. For the second time, we were blown away by the response. The event raised over $5,500 to support BETA's mission, introduced lots of new people to the BETA community and of course, gave us all a reason to get out the door and slide around on snow - in case we needed another. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Mud Season approaches! Let's talk trail etiquette.
Recent warm temperatures have us thinking about riding bikes, even if some of us are still skiing. We are fast approaching "mud season" in the Adirondacks and we can expect some low elevation trails to be free of snow and ice within the next week or so. Does mountain bike season start the minute the snow melts on the trails? Unfortunately, NOPE.
During the spring, even the most sustainable trails with well-drained soils are vulnerable to damage caused by bike tires and boot soles. Riding, hiking or trail running on soft, muddy trails might feel like short-term fun, but it creates long-term impacts. Recreating on muddy trails also encourages trail widening which damages surrounding vegetation and decreases the quality of the singletrack trails we all love. Avoiding wet, muddy trails altogether is the best way to prevent trail impacts, formation of persistent muddy areas and the loss of precious soil.
So what can you do?
BE PATIENT. The Adirondack summer and fall trail season feels longer and longer each year (maybe the only silver lining of climate change). The trails and mountains aren’t going anywhere and the soils will dry-out soon enough, let’s give them a break until they are ready to enjoy responsibly.
SEEK ALTERNATIVES. If you just can’t wait to spin the pedals, stick to the gravel or pavement roads. Wait for a sunny day and stretch the legs with a cruiser ride around your town, or enjoy the sunshine by doing yard work at home - better yet, bring your rake to one of BETA’s spring volunteer days.
MAKE GOOD DECISIONS. If you’re traveling to ride, be sure to check the weather at your destination. Research trail conditions before you plan a ride and respect trail closures and bulletins. If you do head out on a trail, pay attention to soil conditions and if you find yourself in a muddy situation, turn around and call it a day.
FLIP THE SCRIPT. Help us harness the power of social media to make good trail etiquette cool again. Did you avoid going on a ride or a hike because the trails were too muddy? Boast about it and set a high standard for trail use etiquette among your friends and followers.
RIDE WITH GRATITUDE. It’s a simple concept. Being able to use trails is an incredible privilege and everyone benefits when we trail users recognize it as so. It makes us careful about how we treat landowners, trail managers, town residents, and the land itself.
Bike The Borderlands has created the Ride With Gratitude campaign to instill a strong code of ethics within the mountain biking community. It calls on riders to respect the gift of mountain biking, care for others, protect nature, and hold each other accountable. In 2022, BETA is proud to be partnering with our Borderlands friends to promote the campaign in the Adirondacks.
Stay tuned for more on that.
Trail Karma Banking Opportunities
Did you know you can give back to the trails you love to ride and ski? Save the date for these upcoming trail days and stay tuned for more info about these and other volunteer opportunities during the 2022 trail season.
Things you gain while digging in the dirt: bug bites, bragging rights and a deeper appreciation for the trails you love.
Hey, Local Businesses!
Over the past two years, dozens of BETA business members have generously supported the BETA mission. Local businesses contribute to the improvement and expansion of our local trails and events like the Wilmington Mountain Bike Festival and Hardy Kids MTB Race, and some of you even host trails on your land for the public to enjoy.
We are honored to have your support and are looking for ways to better acknowledge your gifts. Your feedback is important to us. If you are a business owner, please take a moment to answer this survey and help us find creative new ways of partnering with you in the near future.
Not currently a BETA business member but interested in learning more? Send us note. Let's be friends.
Look Good. Feel Good. Do Good.
Bike Adirondacks (BikeADK) is an Adirondack owned and operated bicycle powered company based in Saranac Lake, NY. BikeADK creates, executes, promotes and supports charity driven events, curates a library of routes and trail networks, builds custom tours, and - BONUS - sells cool shirts that benefit BETA.
Bike Adirondacks just released this season’s line designed by Dan Cash and $5 from every BETA branded jersey comes right back our way. Last year, BikeADK donated over $2000 to BETA from sales of their MTB jerseys. Visit their website to browse these and other BETA swag.