Trail etiquette looking different thanks to COVID-19

Local News

Memorial Day Weekend typically brings with it the opening of Vermont’s trail systems and State Parks for summer usage. However, thanks to coronavirus, trail etiquette may look a little bit different this year.

With snowfall for the mountains and temperatures in the 40’s just a few weeks ago, there are still some trails with snow cover or muddy conditions. Now, they’re open, and with temperatures feeling summer-like, lots of people are using them. However, that doesn’t mean conditions are prime.

“A lot of traffic on the trail really impacts the trail tread itself, so it causes soil to get disturbed, rooted around. And then it doesn’t settle too well when the season gets here and it leads to quick erosion,” says Green Mountain Club Field Programs Director, Keegan Tierney.

If you’re on the trails, you may be thinking you won’t have to worry about keeping your distance from everyone else. But Tierney says, since Governor Phil Scott has enacted the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order, people have been flocking to the trails like it’s peak season, causing concern about whether physical distancing restrictions are still being followed.

Tierney says that they are “asking folks to wear the cloth masks while they’re within six feet of people, and to bring them with them because you’re definitely going to encounter people on the trail. And then thinking about passing people on trail, and interacting with other groups. Just keep in mind though those social distancing considerations.”

Tierney also wants to remind people that should they move off to the side of the trail to let people by, they need to be cautious of the vegetation on the sides of trails as they are delicate.

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