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31 May 2024
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Best of Mammoth

Did you know that the first Saturday of June is National Trails Day? It’s a holiday to commemorate and care for our country’s amazing network of hiking and riding trails, and there are many ways to get involved.

Take a look at some of the ways that Mammoth Lakes lovers are joining in this weekend to celebrate our trails and keep them safe, beautiful, and accessible for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Volunteer with Summer of Stewardship Trail Maintenance Day

This summer is a special one for the trail system around Mammoth Lakes because our area has been selected as the official Leave No Trace Spotlight location for 2024. That means that there will be three trail clean-up days organized and sponsored by our national Leave No Trace partners throughout the summer, the first one kicking off this Saturday at 9am at the Mono County Library

Join other nature enthusiasts for a free bagel breakfast and then head out to spend the day doing trail clean-up and maintenance. All ages are welcome; just make sure you’re dressed ready for a few hours of dirty work! That means sturdy, close-toed shoes, sun protection, bug repellent, and comfortable clothes.

Go take a hike!

If you’re not able to partake in the Leave No Trace trail clean-up this Saturday, you can still celebrate this special holiday by lacing up your hiking boots and heading to your nearest trail! Here are a few ways that you can honor National Trail Days no matter where you celebrate:

  • Do your own little trash pick-up. You don’t need an organized event to clean up your favorite trail! Head out with a trash bag and trash grabber so that you can pick up litter as you hike.

  • Pay attention to any areas of the trail that need maintenance. If your favorite trail is managed by the Forest Service, National Park Service or local state park service, they’ll appreciate you letting them know of any hazards on the trail. 

  • Enjoy yourself! National Trails Day is about taking full advantage of the beauty of our natural spaces. The more that people enjoy them, the more we will all be motivated to preserve them for generations to come. 

Take the National Trails Day Pledge

Looking to take your love for the trails online? Join the movement spearheaded by the American Hiking Society by posting the phrase: “In honor of #NationalTrailsDay, I’ll leave the trails and the outdoor community better than I found them.”

You can also sign up to take the official pledge on their website for a chance to win prizes!

Learn about the history of your favorite outdoor area

We wouldn’t be able to enjoy our trail system if it weren’t for the generations of wildlife stewards that came before us.

This National Trails Day, take some time to learn about who cared for this land in the past. Here in the Eastern Sierra, we can acknowledge the role that the Bishop Paiute Tribe has played in conserving and defending this area’s natural resources. You can learn more about the history by planning a visit to the Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center. 

Be respectful of wild animals who use the trails

We humans aren’t the only ones who benefit from a well-maintained trail system! From bighorn sheep to mule deer to bears and bobcats, you might spot all kinds of wild animals strolling along manmade trails in their search for food or a mate. 

You can help them enjoy National Trails Day by:

  • Giving them space. No matter what kind of wild animal you see on the trail, give them plenty of space.

  • Not picking or trampling wildflowers that grow along the trail. Wildflowers, berries, and other roughage serve as food sources for bears, deer, sheep, and jackrabbits. So, leave them be so that they can become snacks for native species. 

  • Keeping dogs on leash or in control. Interactions between domesticated pets and wild animals is not safe for anyone involved. If you’re not sure how your dog will react to seeing a wild animal, keep them on leash or make sure that you are able to keep them under full control in the case that something wild crosses your path!

Leave comments on AllTrails

One easy way to encourage more people to get out there for National Trails Day is to leave your honest commentary about a trail on social media platforms like AllTrails. Useful information you can include could be the amount of snow coverage on a trail, whether there are areas that may be slippery or otherwise hazardous, and whether a trail is child-friendly.

Thank a park ranger!

Park rangers and forest rangers have a huge job keeping people, wildlife, and our natural areas safe 365 days of the year. So, if you happen to see one on National Trails Day, give them a high five, a friendly tip of the hat, or hey, if they’re up for it, a hug. They deserve all the praise and good vibes for keeping our wild lands in good condition.

Write a letter to your congressperson in support of National Parks

One final way that you can celebrate National Trails Day is to make sure that your favorite outdoor space continues to receive the funding necessary to maintain it. A good way to do this is writing a letter or postcard to your congressperson or state representative. Here are a few things that will make your letter have an impact:

  • Your personal connection to the wildlife area you’d like to conserve. Your government reps want to know who you are and why you’re so passionate about your cause!

  • Any specific needs that your area is facing. Maybe your local forest service team needs fund allocation for summer volunteers. Or perhaps, your community has been fundraising for a wildlife crossing. These specific asks will help give your congressperson direction.

  • Short and to-the-point writing. We could probably all write endlessly about why we love our Mammoth Lakes wilderness, but the fact is, your congressperson receives a lot of mail! So, do your best to get your point across as efficiently and powerfully as possible to make your letter stand out!

How will you celebrate National Trails Day?

Are you planning on rolling up your sleeves and partaking in trail maintenance? Will you pick up some extra trash during your hike? Or, do you have your own yearly tradition to celebrate National Trails Day? We’d love to know what your plans are this Saturday!

And, even though National Trails Day is only one day a year, you can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Eastern Sierra all summer long! Book your trip to Mammoth Lakes now so that you can come explore our unmatched trail system!