Winter hikers and cyclists will now be required to use certain equipment in Green Canyon to avoid damaging the area’s groomed trails.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Logan Ranger District announced it will new require hikers to wear snowshoes and cyclists to use fat tires at least four inches wide. Traditional tires and traditional footwear, according to the statement, are resulting in damage to trails that may take weeks to mend with increasingly sparse snowfall.
“Nordic United and the Forest Service have partnered for many years to offer these opportunities for winter recreation enthusiasts, at no cost to our visitors,” said Logan District Ranger Jennefer Parker in the statement. “Maintenance of these trails by Nordic United volunteers involves a great deal of effort. Visitors can help sustain usage of these trails, even during times of limited snowfall, by following the regulations established for winter recreation use.”
Nordic United volunteers having been grooming the trails for the better part of two decades, according to Parker. While the new rules largely have to do with mitigating trail damage, Parker told The Herald Journal the rules are also the result of changes in the climate.
“I can remember when I first moved here (nearly 14 years ago) they were occasionally grooming multiple times a week,” Parker said, referring to a time when snowfall was more frequent. “Now, they may just groomed and somebody goes up the day after and post-holes up the trail, and (the trail) might be like that for a while.”
Parker said the responses to the change have been mixed. While the rule change may displace some recreational users, Parker said Green Canyon’s uniqueness is worth preserving.
“We’re just asking folks to kind of help protect the amount of volunteer time that’s going into providing that opportunity,” Parker said.
While educating the public is the current focus, Parker said a regulation will be in place that could result in a citation and fine for those who ignore the changes.
“I’m hoping that people can understand the reason behind why we’re having to make these changes,” Parker said. “There’s a need to try and support the work of what Nordic United is doing.”