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Destructive and avoidable: park rangers reminding hikers to not go off trails or take short cuts

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:34 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - One of the most destructive things for our trails is actually very common, yet avoidable. Colorado Springs park rangers are reminding hikers to not go off the designated trails or take short cuts to prevent damaging our trails.

11 News walked around Red Rock Canyon Open Space with park ranger Wesley Hermann to take a look at the trail damage caused by people not staying on the 30+ miles of designated trails.

“We actually have some of the most erodible soil in the state... which means it’s very sensitive to impact from people walking on it,” said Hermann.

Some parts of Red Rock Canyon are closed off to hikers as park rangers try to regrow vegetation that was destroyed. When people don’t stay on the trails, it can damage the trail infrastructure, vegetation and habitat, which is very labor-intensive to fix.

“I like to think of our parks almost like little archipelagos or island chains. As we create those rouge trails, or those shortcut trails, we break that habitat into smaller and smaller pieces,” said Hermann.

Park rangers remind hikers to always walk on durable surfaces, and leave no trace while on trails.

“Any of these little things that we do might not seem like a big deal. One of my favorite sayings is, no raindrop feels responsible for the flood, and so it really is on all of us... and remembering that we all have a cumulative impact out here,” said Hermann.

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