3-28-2023 Trails Close For Spring Thaw

Greetings and welcome!

Now it’s really over. The county is closing the year ’round snowmobile & ATV trails on county forest land as of Thursday night. This is an annual ritual when spring comes. When the frost is coming out of the ground the soil gets really soft. They close trails while the ground dries out so that the trails don’t get damaged while they are vulnerable.

As a guy with a 1/4 mile long gravel driveway I can testify just how soft that ground can get. I have many memories of mud boggin’ a foot deep or more just to get in or out of the driveway. Then I have to bring in gravel and fix all of those deep ruts. They don’t want that spread out over hundreds of miles of trails.

The other thing that happens is that they freeze overnight and the whole process starts all over again.

The other end of this is that sunny spots dry out a lot faster than sheltered areas. My lower driveway would be as dry as it is in summer, and the sheltered part would hold snow, ice, and frost in the ground until late April or early May. Again translate that over to the county land where there are deep forest areas that are still holding two or three feet of snow.

One dynamic in play this year is that big ice base that we have. With all of the rain that we had this year we built a 4-6″ ice base. That might be slow to go away, especially in the deep woods. That is very dependent on the weather. A week of 70 degree temps could wipe it right out. A slow thaw could extend the wait for trails to re-open. No one knows.

There is no set date to open those trails. The powers that be will open the trails when they feel that it is dry enough. Often times it is the first weekend in May, but that is not a set date. It depends on the weather and conditions in the woods. I have seen it happen in late April and as late as the second weekend in May.

Anyway, here is the letter from the county..

Have a good Tuesday and thank you for visiting!