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For Release: Thursday, May 3, 2018

DEC and BETA Advise All-Terrain Bikers to Avoid Bike Trails in the Adirondacks During Spring Mud Season

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) today urged all-terrain bikers to avoid trails and closed seasonal access roads in the Adirondacks until these trails and roads have dried and hardened. Wet and muddy trails can be dangerous to ride and are easily rutted and damaged through use.

"All-terrain bicycling is a popular activity in the Adirondacks," said DEC Regional Director Bob Stegemann. "We are asking bikers to stay off the trails for a little longer so they don't damage trails and adjacent vegetation and nearby waters. Damaged trails are less enjoyable to use and can be dangerous for other bikers."

"Mud season in the Adirondacks is a very sensitive time for mountain bike trails," said Josh Wilson, Executive Director of Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA). "Some trails dry-out relatively quickly in the spring or after periods of rain, while others remain muddy for weeks on end regardless of weather. Riding on wet and muddy trails can cause lasting damage very quickly. If you are leaving ruts in the trail surface, the soil is definitely too wet to be riding. Call it a day and wait for better conditions. Ride dirt, not mud, and help us keep the trails in great shape for you and others to enjoy."

Trailside vegetation and trail surfaces are especially vulnerable to degradation and erosion during this time of year. Biking, including fat tire bikes, on muddy trails damages tree roots, erodes slopes, and widens trails, making them difficult and dangerous for riding. DEC asks bikers to help protect the trails, natural resources, and surrounding habitats by checking trail conditions and advisories before venturing out and avoiding all wet, muddy trails.

Conditions reports for mountain bike trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and other networks on private and municipal lands can be found online at www.BETAtrails.org (Leaves DEC website). BETA also utilizes Trail Forks, a website and smart phone app with trail conditions, maps, recommended rides, and other trail information. Please check trail conditions reports before you plan your ride.

Spring recreation tips are available on the DEC website to help visitors safely enjoy the outdoors and minimize their impact on natural resources. In addition, the Adirondack Backcountry Information web page provides current trail condition information and more.

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