(Vermont State Parks photo)
(Vermont State Parks photo)

WATERBURY CENTER -- The Green Mountain Club today announced the start of "mud season" and urged hikers to stay off muddy and high-elevation trails unless they still have extensive snow or ice cover. High elevation soils take until Memorial Day to dry out, especially on north slopes and evergreen shaded trails.

In between spring showers we are all ready to hit the trails after a long cold winter. But even if your yard is drying out, soils are still thawing at higher elevations. It takes time for mountain soils to dry out. Hiking trails on state lands managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and Green Mountain Club are closed until Memorial Day weekend. Hikers are also strongly discouraged from using hiking trails in the Green Mountain National Forest until Memorial Day weekend. Generally, along the Long Trail, the national forest extends south from Mt. Ellen in Warren to Massachusetts, and the state parks and forests run north of Appalachian Gap in Buels Gore to Canada - including more than 25,000 acres conserved by the Green Mountain Club.

"Please give our trails time to dry out for the summer hiking season," says Dave Hardy, Director of Trail Programs for the Green Mountain Club, "Until the end of May, consider hiking on south facing slopes and lower elevations where the sun can dry out the trails sooner. And please stay on the trail rather than walking around puddles so the trails don't widen and create new erosion problems.


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Thank you for taking care of our trails!"

To find a list of suggested Mud Season hikes, visit www.GreenMountainClub.org.

Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private, nonprofit organization with more than 10,000 members. Vermont's historic Long Trail was the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States and the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail. Beyond its trail maintenance work, the GMC publishes guidebooks and maps for hiking in Vermont, and runs outdoor skills and conservation workshops. Every year, more than 1,000 volunteers work so that future generations may enjoy the Long Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Northeast Kingdom trails. Fourteen GMC sections maintain portions of the trail system and lead a four-season schedule of outdoor recreation activities.