It's almost trail riding season for the majority of the state! However, there are a few things you should know regarding opening dates and soil conditions. We frequently are asked what trails are open from folks wanting to get out and ride. To help answer this question, Randy Harden, President of WATVA, wrote a blog post explaining the answer.
This time of year is know in our circles as "the spring breakup". So what does that mean you may be thinking?
The spring time is when frost is coming out of the ground, wet conditions add to the trail base instability, then add to this it's also a prime fire hazard time before things green up, it all adds up to why trails around the state are not open yet.
We really need warm, sunny conditions to dry out the trail base so it can become more stable so it doesn't cause massive rehab issues once we start riding. If our spring weather is wet and cool, this adds to the delays. Mother Nature controls much of these conditions, we just have to wait until our professional land managers and club trail captains make their assessment to approve opening.
Even different soil types of each trail system adds to the final assessment and opening approvals.
We have land managers from many county forest staffs, state DNR and federal managers from the US Forest Service that all enter into their assessment and approvals.
As a general time frame and in dryer years (also before COVID-19) some systems have opened mid-May, others the weekend before Memorial weekend. Wet years have even experienced an early June opening, it's all dependent on weather and soil conditions.
My goal in answering this short question with a fairly long answer, is to offer an explanation as to why the systems are not yet open. Hopefully you find this information helpful.