Visitors Asked to Stay on Existing Trails and Help Prevent Damage to Trails During the Monsoon Season – Prescott National Forest

Fire breaks were recently constructed in the area of Spence Basin and Highland Pines by Prescott National Forest fire crews and may resemble new trail construction. These fire breaks, or handline, were constructed to serve as a crucial component of prescribed fire implementation and are used as
control features on prescribed fires. These fire breaks are not authorized trails, and ALL visitors are asked to please remain on existing, system trails. Forest officials are currently working to ensure fire breaks and trails in the area are effectively signed.

With recent monsoon rains, trails will be wet for a little while even when dryer weather returns. Please consider the damage you could cause to trails when planning your visits after heavy precipitation. This advice applies to all user groups motorized and non-motorized for roads and trails. All users can cause damage to trail surfaces and corridors; the impact varies from user to user. For example, a horse or mule rider will leave large post holes in
the trail tread making it uncomfortable to ride or hike when soils dry and dislodging soil that eventually makes it way downhill, adding to erosion. Mountain bikes leave ruts which also make trail use uncomfortable for hikers and other bikers, more importantly those ruts funnel water allowing it to speed up and take more soil downhill, sometimes even rutting through constructed drainage structures. Hikers, bikers, and even equestrian users try to avoid the wet muddy spots moving off the trail onto vegetation. This can cause a 30-inch trail to become 6 feet wide in some places. Motorized users have some of the same impacts and damage to trail treads caused by use during wet conditions and can leave a great trail in rough shape for months or longer. Please be considerate of the environment and other users by planning accordingly. Granite Basin and Williamson Valley are especially susceptible to wet conditions due to clay soils and should be avoided as well as most sections of the Prescott Circle Trail. The trails in the Thumb Butte area dry out quicker than most and the Spruce Mountain Area also is more resistant to impact during wet conditions. Trail volunteers have put a tremendous amount of work in to make these trails safe and sustainable. Please help keep them nice by making alternative plans for recreation. Consider using a rocky forest road for riding or walk a neighborhood that you have never been too when there is a chance trails could be wet.

Please use common sense and courtesy when you venture out to recreate on trails. Turn around if you think you will cause damage.

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