Hikers and bikers cutting switchbacks is a problem just about anywhere trails climb steep terrain. Here’s a timely reminder, originally posted to the Ravalli Republic, of why it is a bad idea . . .
A hiker’s decision to save a few steps by cutting between switchbacks may be endangering the future of some of the Bitterroot National Forest’s most scenic trails.
Last summer, the Bitterroot Forest’s five-person trail crew spent a day and a half building a rock wall and hauling in forest debris to cover the user-created trails between switchbacks on the popular Blodgett Overlook Trail west of Hamilton.
Nearly all of that work has been undone by new trails created this summer by hikers who opt to head straight down the mountain rather than staying on the trail designed to keep erosion in check with a walkway that’s safe for public travel.