A Lesson in Leave No Trace: Walk the Trail More Muddied

A Lesson in Leave No Trace: Walk the Trail More Muddied

 We're big Leave No Trace (LNT) girlies, so consider this a heartfelt reminder from our LNT hearts.

In the midst of winter's identity crisis between snow and sun, you'll undoubtedly stumble upon trail sections that have turned into puddles of mud, slush, or both. We know it feels intuitive to walk around the puddle, but here's what we've learned about why embracing the muddy moments is crucial to protect the land we love to recreate on: 

The issue is the dreaded 'Social trail.' It might sound cute, but social trails pose problems for our delicate terrain, native plants, and sustainable recreation. A social trail forms when hikers essentially choose their own adventure, like walking around a puddle, and follow a part of the trail that's not designated. It only takes 200 hikers to create an entirely new path or widen a trail, and reversing the damage becomes extremely challenging.

When hikers choose to circumvent puddles, the cleanliness of boots comes at a cost for the land. Soon, you end up with a single dirt path that becomes two, three, or four times the original size.

By choosing to walk straight through the mud, you're not only preserving the integrity of the established trail but also safeguarding the surrounding environment. Plus, it means embracing our inner child—remember when we used to love getting puddle jumping and mud stomping? 

Thanks for joining us for this fun fact, LNT edition. Leaving No Trace means more than just avoiding litter; it's about minimizing our impact on the natural world, getting those shoes dirty, and lovingly letting others know how we can leave it better than we found it.

Send us pics of you walking straight through the mud—we can't wait to see them and jump in a few puddles together in our Go There Pants. 

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