PLAN TO STAY ON THE TRAIL
Stay on all trails, tracks, and roads. We already have so many exciting options for you to explore throughout Central Washington, so there’s no need to blaze your own trails during your outdoor adventures in our area!
Concentrating travel on trails reduces the likelihood that multiple routes will develop and scar the landscape. It is better to have one well designed route than many poorly chosen paths, so don’t venture off-path unless you absolutely must when yielding to other hikers, bikers, or other adventurers. Otherwise, going off-path can damage or kill certain plant or animal species and can hurt the ecosystems that surround the path.
It is best to avoid using trails that are muddy, so you don’t leave uneven footprints or tire tracks. If you must traverse a muddy section of a trail, always walk single file in the center of the trail rather than traveling around the mud and widening the trail. Trail braiding-when hikers go around established trails (usually due to a puddle or other obstacle) and widen the trail-dislodges soil and can lead to sediment getting washed into our waters, degrading water quality and fish habitat. Overtime, off-path boot prints can also badly erode switchbacks and destroy drainage diversions.