Late April Trail Report

Sage, the office dog, surveying logging damage on Spencer

Logging damage on Spencer

A muddy patch on the trail.

Spring is starting in Whitefish with crocus dotting yards and willows starting to bud out.  The Whitefish Trail is 99% snow-free with just a few patches of snow and ice holding on in shaded areas.  The trail is, however, not puddle free, so we want to remind users about proper etiquette for riding on wet trails.  We’re all chomping at the bit to get back on the trail after a long winter, but it’s shaping up to be a wet spring.  It’s important to remember, particularly for bikes and equestrians, how much damage riding on muddy trails can cause to the tread.  Our volunteers and Adopt-a-trail crews work hard throughout the year to keep the tread in good shape for us all to enjoy, but only takes a few tires or hooves to rip it up and cause serious damage.  We’re lucky that the trail winds through land that drains well, but if you see standing water on the trail, notice ruts left by someone else, or feel yourself squelching and squishing in mud, just hop off and walk around the wet area.  You’ll be thanking yourself come summer when the trail’s riding smooth.

In other trail news, WLP and Flathead Area Mountain Bikers (FAMB) have been surveying the trail damage on Spencer Mountain left by this winter’s logging.  The most extensive damage is to the Whitefish Trail on the east side of the Spencer loop, near the east-west connector.  We’re encouraging users to stick to the west side of the loop, which is in great shape.  If you do find yourself in an area where the trail has been lost from logging, your best bet is to turn around and find another route—it’s a muddy mess!  In some places the tread is gone for 20 yards and in others it disappears for almost half a mile.  We’ll be working hard this spring and summer to reestablish the trail in these areas.