Some trails too wet for travel

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— With temperatures soaring into the seventies and eighties during the weekend, many Steamboat Springs residents are anxious to mount their bicycles for spring trail rides. Officials at the Routt National Forest would like to remind bike and motor vehicle enthusiasts that many trails and roads are still too wet for travel.

"Forest Service roads and trails are closed this time of the year for good reasons," said Kent Foster, recreation manager for the Hahn's Peak and Bears Ears Ranger District. Other than the risk of ground damage, some roads are also closed to protect wildlife during the spring. These roads may be closed to protect elk calving areas, which are sensitive to motor vehicles and bikers alike.

The Routt National Forest is enforcing road closures this spring, with fines of up to $5,000 or six months in jail for violators. Those who cause road damage will be required to pay for the repairs necessary to restore the trail or road.

According to Routt National Forest officials, more than $1 million in taxes per year are spent nationwide to repair roads damaged by people driving too early in the spring, while the roads are muddy and soft.

Foster recommends that if bikers or motorists find themselves in a muddy spot on an open, dry road to not detour around the mud. Continuing through the muddy area causes less damage to the ground than driving around it.

Currently, the only biking trails dry enough for bicycling include Spring Creek Trail, Mad Creek Trail, Hot Springs Trail and Lower Bear Trail. All other trails are closed, giving them the opportunity to dry out. To stay updated on trail conditions, visit the Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us/r2/mbr.

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