Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Curious Nature

Following the Signs

Posted by Haley Baker on Jul 17, 2017 2:53:41 AM
Haley Baker

trail-signs-CN-300x300Summer is in full swing and the opportunities for recreation seem almost limitless. Trails take off in every direction leading hikers, bikers, climbers, horseback riders, kayakers, and fishers to their own special corners of the Rockies. Sadly, the more we share our special places with others, the more overuse can damage the things we found so special about them in the first place. Rather than hiding these places like secret treasures, we can promote ways people can respect and share trails in a way that leaves them special for everyone.

Want These Articles Delivered To Your Inbox?

To make trail stewardship simpler, many of the trails we use on our public lands have signs indicating specific rules and regulations. Our tax dollars go into making this signage available and each sign is intentionally thought out and placed where they can best serve the good of the trail and all of its users. By following the guidelines laid out by these signs, we can ensure our beautiful public lands remain that way for generations to come. The signs are meant to help all of us, so please don’t shoot them.

Not all trails have signs with rules, but this doesn’t mean we can use and abuse the trails. The Leave No Trace Principles are guidelines we can follow to take responsibility for our impact when enjoying the outdoors. The first guideline, Plan Ahead and Prepare, is one you should follow before you even leave your house. You wouldn’t leave for a road trip with no gasoline or idea of where you’re going, so why leave for a hike without packing food, water, maps, and knowing the regulations of the trail?

Once you’re on the trail, Leave No Trace principles are important to preserve the trail. The guideline to Hike and Camp on Durable Surfaces refers to the importance of staying on trails and not creating braiding or spur trails. Many trails have signs reminding you not to cut switchbacks and stay on trail, but sometimes trail crews have to make adjustments. In general, if a trail or spur is blocked by a pile of logs or barrier, you most likely want to be following the other.

Dispose of Waste Properly and Leave What You Find are both guidelines on what we should take from or leave on the trail. We can make a backcountry  bathroom more appealing by bringing our own amenities, but forgetting to pack out or bury our waste and toilet paper can leave unsightly white “trail flowers” that those who follow behind don’t want to see. When passing real wildflowers on the trail, it’s best to admire how beautiful they are, take a few pictures, and leave them behind unpicked for everyone to enjoy.

While hiking a popular trail, we need to Be Considerate of Other Visitors by keeping our voices and music down and yielding to other users on the trail. If we’re lucky, we may encounter more than people on the trail, in which case it’s important to Respect Wildlife. By observing animals from a distance, not feeding wildlife, and keeping our pets under control or at home, we can ensure any wildlife we encounter feels comfortable and protected. For a full list and more details about the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, visit www.lnt.org. Now close the tab and get yourself out to enjoy that special spot!

What is That? Ask a Naturalist!

Haley Baker is a Naturalist and Sustainability Intern at Walking Mountains and part time vigilante on the trails of Eagle County.

Topics: Curious Nature

Haley Baker

Written by Haley Baker

Sowing Seeds Coordinator. An Ohio native, Haley fell in love with the Rockies as a Naturalist and Sustainability Intern at Walking Mountains. As Sowing Seeds Coordinator, Haley is thrilled to have the chance to inspire local students to get their hands dirty in their school gardens.