The warm weather gives Dayton residents an added chance to spend time outdoors, which can be difficult to find during the winter months. For this reason, people should capitalize on these conditions as much as they can, said Greg Hull, Dayton Hikers Trail Manager and resident of Xenia.
“You know, it’s one of those things that you have to take advantage of,” Hull said. “Because you have over 60 times in December, that doesn’t happen very often. We must therefore take advantage of it. “
For Paul Benson, a downtown Dayton resident and frequent hiker, the warm weather reminds him of a whole different season.
“(It’s) strange,” Benson said. “Hearing robins singing like it’s April is a little unsettling. “
Hot weather and winter precipitation has also caused an increase in muddy spots on the trails in the region. While it may seem easier for hikers to avoid these areas by walking on either side of them, the most beneficial approach is to walk through them to avoid erosion, trail widening, and damage to the trail. surrounding vegetation, according to Osborne.
“It’s human nature to want to walk in a muddy place,” Osborne said. “It might take a few seconds for you to walk the trail. As you walk around this location, it can take hours for staff and volunteers to restore these sections. “
Caesar’s Creek Park Naturalist Erin Shaw has worked in the park for over a decade and has seen the impact such actions can have on a trail or path.
“I’ve definitely seen the trails change,” said Shaw. “Over time, I see them widen.”
Preserving the trails and the surrounding environment aligns with the overall mission of Five Rivers and their trails, Osborne added.
“It’s our goal, to be good stewards of the land, to protect the natural heritage of our region and also to be able to provide the best possible positive outdoor experience. “
Osborne, Boutis and Shaw advised hikers to take proper precautions before hiking in difficult conditions. Proper gear, including durable boots, hiking poles, and warm clothing, is encouraged, as is hiking possible earlier in the day before temperatures rise when the ground is likely to be stronger.
In addition, it may be helpful for hikers to keep their cell phones fully charged, bring plenty of drinking water, and be aware of their surroundings, as recent precipitation and strong winds make it more likely that snowfall will fall. a tree near a path, Shaw mentioned.
However, Dayton’s abundance of paved trails provides plenty of alternative options for potential hikers if conditions on their usual trails aren’t ideal, Osborne added.
“This is a great opportunity to maybe explore areas that you haven’t yet experienced,” he said. “If your favorite trail is muddy, go jump on a paved section of trail for a hike or bike (ride) and maybe see areas that are new to you.”