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Stay Off the Trails, But You Can Head to the Streams and the Slopes

Muddy spring conditions means a change in mindset

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Mother Nature always seems a bit confused this time of year. The bluster and snow of winter one day followed by the blissful inklings of spring the next means that confusion infiltrates every aspect of life from what to wear (layers) to where you can go to get outside.

But one rec-related quandary is actually pretty easy to answer: If a trail is muddy, stay off it.

It's the same seasonal reminder that the crew at Ridge to Rivers puts out every year in an effort to keep the trails from getting rutted, widened and otherwise destroyed. But with the recent cycle of rain, snow, sun, rain, foretelling the trail conditions is a bit like looking into a crystal ball.

A voluntary trail closure program began several weeks ago, asking trail users to stay out of the most heavily used areas after 10:30 a.m., when trails usually begin to thaw. But with warmer overnight temps, even those time restrictions are blurry.

David Gordon, trail program coordinator for R2R, said the group is providing daily trail updates on its website (ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org). Updates are posted early in the morning, and Gordon said he's encouraging people to log on before heading out.

He said by and large, the public has mostly respected the closures.

"People have been fantastic," he said. "It's been light years better than I thought. There's been terrific support for taking that step."

The voluntary closures will end once prevailing weather patterns begin to dry out and warm up, but until then, just remember, if the mud is sticking to your shoes or tires, stay off the trail.

But even if things are too muddy in the Foothills, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is making sure there's something to do on the water. The department has been busy releasing more than 17,000 rainbow trout--of catchable size--in rivers and waterways around the area throughout March.

For more details on fish stocking, visit fishandgame.idaho.gov.

If you're still dedicated to winter, the folks at Sun Valley Resort are making spring skiing just a little easier--at least for full-time college students.

Students can pick up a three-day pass for just $99 through the end of the ski season on Sunday, April 24. Better yet, the pass does not have to be used in three consecutive days, so you can spread out a few last runs though the spring.

Visit sunvalley.com for more details.