Leave No Trace

Leaving No Trace

We're all familiar with IMBA's "Rules of the Trail." You know, ride in control, yield, etc. but it's spring, it's cold, the trails are muddy. You're the only one out here so you can go nuts, ride with careless abandon, right? Whoop, think again. I want to introduce you to another organization which like IMBA hopes to have a global influence, but is based right here in Boulder. They're called Leave No Trace (LNT) and they've got some helpful guidelines for minimizing your impact on the trails.

The LNT Skills and Ethics series has volumes specific to different areas of the US as well as various backcountry activities. The mountain bike volume is in the works and should be ready later this spring. For now, let's go through the "Leave No Trace on Open Space" guide to see how it might apply to spring biking.

First principle is: Manage your dog. Well, on county open space that means a leash and that's not advised while riding.

Number two: Pick up poop. They mean dog poop.

OK, number three, Trash your trash. We all know what that means, so why are there so many powerbar and gu wrappers on the trail? Also, if you crash and break something, pick up the pieces and (don't laugh I've seen this) and pack out your punctured inner tube.

Leave it as you find it. No picking flowers or taking rock samples. Not a big problem with mountain bikers, but I'm sad to say it includes trailside berries. Critters depend on those berries for food and the berry bush uses them to procreate.

Stick to Trail. This is a biggy in spring. It means ride through the puddles. Don't go around, this widens the trail. You can wash the mud off you and your bike, but the trampled plants may never recover.

And the last guideline, Share our trails. Yes, there's some overlap with IMBA, they have some minimum impact guidelines too, but as I said I wanted to introduce you to someone new.

For more information and materials call LNT at 1.800.332.4100 or check out www.lnt.org.