By Lauren DiCenso
The Midcoast Conservancy manages more than 60 miles of trails that stretches from Knox, Freedom, and Montville south to properties in Newcastle and Alna. There are miles of multi-use trails for cyclists, hikers, and skiers that are woven together to give you access to one of the most ecologically diverse forestland in the Midcoast.
The only way to continue to enjoy the beautiful trails that New England has to offer is to be aware of your actions when using the trails. There are some things you may do while unknowingly that could be hurting the environment and wildlife around you.
Next time you plan to visit the Midcoast Conservancy trails, keep these tips in mind.
Cycling on the Trails
Riding your bike is one of the healthiest forms of exercise and is incredibly eco-friendly. It reduces the amount of fossil fuels that go into the ozone and comes with many other sizeable benefits.
Even so, cycling can cause some real damage to the trails. The speed and weight of mountain bikes on the trail make them far more damaging than a hikers’ bootsteps. A single mountain bike can cause loads of damage to the terrain with its knobby tires, skids and chain rings over fallen logs.
Riding your bike on a slope could risk carving up a deep trail, which could lead to water and soil erosion. Just like slopes, bikes can cut deep ruts into the ground and by doing so, you can damage the plant roots.
Bikers can damage the trail more other groups, but the “footprint” left on the trail from a bicycle is minimal compared to a motorcycle or ATV. Motorized bikes are NOT allowed to be used on our trails for this reason.
Hiking on the Trails
You should never leave any trace that you went on a hike other than your footprints behind you on the trail. All trash should be packed in your bag or in a pocket to be recycled at a later time. You shouldn’t even leave something compostable behind, like a banana peel or an apple core.
Would you like to see someone else’s rotting apple core on your outdoor hike? Probably not.
Something to consider for your future hiking trips is to bring a reusable water bottle. It’s eco-friendly and it makes it a lot easier than having to worry about where to put your plastic water bottle when in the middle of the woods.
Pick Up Your Trash
This one is obvious, but nonetheless important. You should never litter! Leaving your trash can really be harmful to the animals that inhabit the area. That is why you should dispose all of your trash in trash or recycle bins. If you can’t find any closeby, leave them in your backpack and throw them away when you get home.
Watch Out for Wildlife
While using the trails, make sure to watch out for any wildlife. While it’s always exciting to see animals on your hike, it’s usually best to simply watch animals from a distance and never feed the wildlife.The forestland is where they call home, so it’s advised not to approach the animal for their own welfare and for your safety.
Stay on the Trail
Always stick to the designated trail or path. If you venture off the trail, you risk damaging the local flora and tearing up dirt which could lead to potential erosion. Just one person getting off the path can leave beaten tracks that entices others to do the same. It’s important for safety and ecological reasons to stay on the marked trail path.
Take Care of Our Environment
Preserving the environment is more important now more than ever. Especially considering the fact that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a report that we could be seeing a climate change crisis as soon as 2040.
The little things usually make the biggest difference. By doing things such as not littering and sticking to the designated paths can go a long way into helping keep the surrounding area intact for all to enjoy.
This article was provided by www.personalinjury-law.com, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only.