Leave No Trace
Travel on Durable Surfaces
Ute Valley Park is a beautiful natural area that offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. However, it is also a fragile ecosystem that needs our care and respect.
When we visit Ute Valley Park, we want to leave it as we found it, or even better. But sometimes, our footsteps and activities can damage the land, the plants, and the wildlife. That’s why it’s important to travel on durable surfaces, which are surfaces that can resist or recover from the impacts of our visit.
What are durable surfaces?
Durable surfaces are those that can tolerate repeated trampling and scuffing without losing their structure or function. In Ute Valley Park, the most durable surfaces are:
- Established trails
- Rock, gravel and sand
- Snow and ice
Why should we travel on durable surfaces?
Traveling on durable surfaces helps to:
- Protect the soil from erosion and compaction
- Preserve the vegetation and the habitats of animals and insects
- Prevent the spread of invasive species and diseases
- Maintain the natural beauty and diversity of the landscape
- Avoid creating new trails that fragment the wilderness
- Reduce the need for trail maintenance and restoration
How can we travel on durable surfaces?
In Ute Valley Park, we can apply the following strategies to travel on durable surfaces:
Stay on trail.
Park users are not allowed to travel off trails in Ute Valley Park. Park visitors should always stay on the designated trails and avoid cutting switchbacks or creating shortcuts. Designated trails are indicated by official park signage and maintained paths. These trails are carefully planned to provide a safe and enjoyable route for park users while protecting the natural environment. Please follow signs and stay within the confines of the trail, avoiding straying onto undisturbed land which may be home to vulnerable plant and animal species. Always look for signage and stick to well-trodden paths to ensure you are on an approved route and to help preserve the park’s natural beauty for everyone.
Choose the right trail.
Ute Valley Park has trails for different types of users, such as hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Choose the trail that matches your activity and skill level, and follow the signs and rules for each trail. This helps to reduce conflicts and accidents among users, and to protect the trails from excessive wear and tear.
Walk through mud and snow.
When the trails are wet or snowy, walk through the center of the trail, even when wet or muddy. This helps to keep the trail narrow and prevent widening and braiding. Do not walk around puddles or snow patches, as this can damage the vegetation and create new trails. If the trails are too muddy or snowy, consider postponing your visit or choosing another trail.
There is no camping in Ute Valley Park. Camping is illegal and can cause fire hazards, littering, and wildlife conflicts. If you want to camp, please find a legal and suitable campsite outside the park boundaries.
By following these guidelines, we can enjoy Ute Valley Park while respecting and protecting the natural environment. Remember, the goal of being outdoors is to move through natural areas while avoiding damage to the land, foliage, or waterways. Leave no trace of your visit, and leave the place better than you found it.