I have been hiking the Saddle Bluff Trail to the top of Saddle Mountain several times a week off and on for the last two years. Every time I hike the trail, I am grateful for the dedication and hard work of Ed Matthews who is responsible for creating and maintaining the trail. The trail is close to town and well-used by other appreciative hikers.
I know that over the last two years, Ed has spent literally hours and hours, with chainsaw, pulaski, rake, shovel and brush-cutter, moving dirt and rocks so others can enjoy hiking. In fact, nothing gives Ed more satisfaction than when he sees or hears about people hiking the trail.
This year it has been particularly beautiful with an abundance of wild flowers like balsamroot, delphinium, and now lupine in full bloom, along with lovely views of our valley. So, it was sad when on May 21, venturing up the trail with visitors from out of town, we notice that one person, on one horse, in probably a matter of minutes, managed to destroy fragile parts of the trail, and, as horses do, leave a plentiful quantity of horse manure. Not quite the experience we were expecting.
Just to add to the above, on May 25, I was hiking Goat Mountain, another trail created by Ed Matthews’ hard work, to find someone had ridden their horse down the section from the rail grade to the road. It was only a short section but the trail was a damaged all the same, and again with horse manure scattered along the trail.
I realise this is public land and no one can prevent someone from riding the trails. However, knowing how much work it is to create these trails and that hikers do not impact the trails in the same way, it would be great if the people who choose to ride these trails would also spend time repairing the damage. Oh, and how about scooping the poop.
– Andrea Vowell, Grand Forks