This Spring we have been blessed with an exceptional amount of snow. With the “hunker down” in place, we all want to go outside and explore the big outdoors that Delta Junction offers. Our trails will be vulnerable to damage, and we need to use them with care. Please keep in mind how your use of trails in the spring may affect other trail users. Early season damage to trails is a recurring problem. When the snow melts and the ground thaws, trails become extremely soft and muddy. Using mushy trails at this time can result in ruts that remain when the trails dry out. Those ruts can make trails difficult to use all summer and cause further degradation problems.
Take to the trails responsibly. With a little thought, mud season problems can be greatly reduced.
- Try to be patient. Stay off the trails if you can. If you are unsure if a trail is ready to be used, check it out with the commitment to turn back if you are doing too much damage.
- Choose low impact. If you use the trails in several different ways, choose the method of travel that will cause the least amount of damage if you do run into some muddy sections. Stay the trail.
- Pick your trails carefully. Use well-drained trails with lots of southern exposure. They typically dry out the quickest. If you just have to get muddy, please limit your activities to trails that are already thrashed. A little more damage probably won’t make a big difference, but a trail in nice shape can be damaged for a season in a hurry.
- Time your adventure. When spring temperatures dip below freezing at night, trails may remain frozen and more solid in the morning hours.
- Enjoy a water trail. The birds are pouring in to the Interior. Enjoy paddling or floating the Clearwater River, our local water trail.
In 2016 the Delta Junction Trails Association (DJTA) restored the first 1.34 miles of the Bluff Cabin Trail for motorized use. These trail improvements are expensive and arduous. The cost of restoring the trail with gravel is approximately $89,000 per mile. This trail and surrounding terrain are fragile and can be impacted by use during breakup until the surfaces harden.
In 2019 DJTA worked on Phase II of the Bluff Cabin Trail, by realigning the sections to the Bluff Cabin Lakes and the Bluff Cabin Slough. The trails are roughed in and we have installed an information kiosk, part of the signage and installed boulders to meet the Department of Natural Resources requirement standards to limit access to off highway vehicles less than five feet in width.
This summer the tender trail will not be ready for traffic. Construction will include machine finishing, root cutting, and hand finishing. To complete the project, we will install the additional signage and hope to improve parking by fall.
June 6 is the annual hike Donnelly Dome with DJTA on National Trails Day!