5 Tips for Loving Your Local Trails

We’ve all had that moment – standing on a trail, sweating, the fresh air filling your lungs. And then, something touches your soul. It may be something in the breeze or in the rustling of the trees. Wherever it comes from, you realize, ‘this place is special.’

Let’s keep loving those breathtaking spots by caring for theses wild places. Here’s a few tips to on how you can love your favorite trails.

  1. Use the trails. Don’t abuse them.

Trails are there for people to use them. But there are times when running on a trail can cause it damage. For example, if the trails are muddy they are particularly vulnerable. It can take hours of work to repair a trail that has been overused while it’s muddy. Following a big storm, opt for rail-trails or gravel covered trails to limit your impact.

  1. Take a sad trail, and make it better.

One of the developers of the Ragnar Trail series, Steve Aderholt, is known for coming back from his trail runs carrying absurd amounts of garbage that he found on the trail. While we all can’t be Aderholts, we can all make an effort to clean up the trail. Run with a pack and grab a few water bottles or other items you see on your way back to the trail head. It may seem gross, but it can make a huge difference in preserving the pristine nature of your favorite trail.

  1. Don’t be a trailblazer.

While it may be tempting to cut a few corners on your way down the hill, remember that many trails are designed in a way that allows access while minimizing impact. Cutting corners will cause damage to native and sometimes fragile ecosystems.

  1. Volunteer!

Find local groups in your area that help maintain trail systems. They can help train you on how to protect and cultivate the trails near you. Also try checking groups like the American Hiking Society for volunteer opportunities near you.

  1. Be a trail hugger.

Just run. Life is too short to spend it inside. Get out there, run some trails, listen to the birds sing, stop and breathe some fresh air. The moments we challenge ourselves are when we feel most alive, so, get out there and LIVE.

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