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Gearing up for spring trail use

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Snow has melted, temperatures are warming and local trails will soon be busy.

The Wisconsin DNR and local experts expect Wisconsin trails to be incredibly busy yet again this year as many continue to take to the outdoors during COVID-19.

Experts say there are a few important things to keep in mind like trail etiquette and safety. Owner of Coulee Bike Co. Robbie Young says monitoring trail conditions is incredibly important.

"Number one piece of advice for enthusiastic new mountain bikers is to ride dirt trails, not mud," said Young.

If the conditions are wet enough to leave ruts or footprints, he says to not use them as ruts can often last for months once dried.

"There are almost daily trail updates posted on oratrails.org and volunteers are out there checking the dirt in all kinds of places every day just to make sure that it's ready to ride," said Young.

With bikers, hikers, birders and more, these trails can get crowded.

"Announce yourself whether you're running up behind someone, or coming around the corner, make your presence known," said Young.

There are plenty of options to get outdoors here in the Coulee Region, some free, like the Hixon Forest, while others require a daily pass or fee like the Great River State Trail. Those passes can be generally be purchased at your local bike shop.

The fees from the state trail are recycled directly to the state properties said Wisconsin DNR Superintendent Andre Haffele.

"Our state parks and trail program is primarily funded through user fees such as trail passes or at state parks where we require vehicle admission," said Haffele. "That money is then put into that fund and then turned around and used for maintaining our properties and facilities."

All this so generations to come can continue using these trails.

"The opportunity for people to get out and just enjoy being outside, you know, you think of fun family activities and you can't hardly beat a bike ride together as a family right," said Haffele.

Local bike shops are getting very busy and are a few weeks backed up, so don't put off your tune ups if you plan of getting one.

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Warren Sears

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