Now that the snow has melted and the temperatures are warmer, most of us want to get outside and hike! But, mud season is not a good time for hiking in certain areas. Rain and melting snow at higher elevations are keeping many of Vermont's hiking trails wet and muddy. When hikers tramp on saturated soils, they cause soil compaction and erosion as well as damage to the trail and surrounding vegetation. Please help protect the fragile trails this time of year by staying off muddy trails.
Higher elevation soils take longer to dry out. This year mud season is early. A trail may be dry at the trailhead, but is muddy at a higher elevation this time of year. If you notice this happening, please turn around! Trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent places for early spring walking.
Along with the warmer weather, there are many aspects of nature beginning to emerge for us to enjoy. Thank you for helping to preserve our beautiful natural resources!
Guidelines to follow when hiking this time of year
• If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn back and seek another place to hike.
• Plan spring hikes in hardwood forests at lower elevations.
• Avoid spruce-fir (conifer) forest at higher elevations and on north slopes before late May and from the end of October until frozen or snow covered.
• Camels Hump and Mt Mansfield trails are technically closed from April to Memorial day, but because of the early mud season the trails are currently closed until they dry out. Please do not hike here. Stay below 3000 ft during these times of year.
Staying away from certain places during mud season makes them ready to enjoy this summer. Have fun out there!
By Rebecca Roy
Vermont State Parks Conservation Education Coordinator Our white pine trees--taller than every other
tree in the Vermont woods, are heavily laden with cones this year. These giants
of the forest started the summer months growing bright green female cones in
large clumps at the ends of all the upper branches. The cones were so
plentiful, they weighed the branches into curved arches pointing down.
Throughout the summer, the seeds hidden under the cone bracts developed, the
cones turned brown, and the seeds came sailing out with their adapted
wing--hopefully planting some new white pines. At least that is the goal of the
pine tree as it grows more and more cones, and more and more seeds. The summer of 2016 we saw a drought. Remember
how low the lake levels dropped that summer? Well, our trees are reacting to
that stress by producing way more seeds, nuts and fruits than normal. Our pine
trees started developing this year’s cones in 2016, so the drought triggered
them to grow …
Winter is a beautiful time
of year here in the northeast. Everywhere you look there is snow sparkling in
the sun, icicles in the windows, snow-capped mountains in the distance, and
this week, breathtakingly cold weather! In an effort to embrace the
temperatures, we at Vermont State Parks decided to embark on a project that
combines ice, art, balloons, and some freezing temperatures. What could it be? GIANT ICE MARBLES!
What you will need: -Balloons -Food coloring -Water -Freezing air or a freezer How to make them: 1. First, open the mouth of the balloon and place several drops of
food coloring inside. You can use the standard colors or mix your own by
combining two different colors. 2. Stretch the mouth of the balloon around the head of a
faucet. Slowly fill it up with water until the balloon is slightly smaller than a
bowling ball. Note: If the balloon loses grip with the faucet, things can
get messy. Keep afirm hold on the top of the balloon and hold the bottom to keep it
steady. 3. Tightly …
Days are getting shorter, nights are chilly and some stray trees have started to turn red, orange and
gold. Summer may be over, but about half of our parks are open through Columbus Day, and a select few are open even later. So stop by for a visit- fall is a great time for camping, hiking, paddling, or getting in one final picnic before the earmuffs come on.