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By on November 16, 2021 in Featured, News, Newsletter

“You are not a cat. Do not let curiosity overwhelm your faculties.” 

When out on OVLC preserves, please stay on our formal trails. You may have been told about a social trail, or noticed one that looks enticing. Please note that those are unsanctioned trample trails. 

If you do take unsanctioned trample trails, your curiosity is making more work for OVLC’s stewardship staff and dedicated volunteers. In Ojai’s arid climate, heading off trail is most likely killing some fragile plants too. Perhaps you disturbed some sensitive wildlife habitat. What you definitely did not do, is help protect the very same natural environment you came to experience. 

There are more and more unsanctioned trample trails popping up all over OVLC preserves, and they are a problem. Some of these trails (like the trample trail pictured to the right) are clearly there because trail users just have to know what is around the bend. You are not a cat. Do not let curiosity overwhelm your faculties. In this regard, we want to assure you, OVLC is not hiding a secret oasis or Garden of Eden. If there is a beautiful spot or stellar vista, we already guide you there! 

Not sure what is the formal trail and what is an unsanctioned trample trail? There are maps at all trailheads and wooden sign posts with metal signs at every formal trail junction. Using these resources, you will know where you are, and where you aren’t supposed to trample. 

Also, we know that shortcuts between switchbacks are enticing. However, with every new shortcut, there is a new spot for water to rush down and wear away solid built tread below, causing maintenance headaches and pulling resources away from improving other trails. Plus, where people trample off trail, beautiful wildflowers simply will not grow. 

The trail networks on the various OVLC preserves are extensive and though the idea of more trail mileage might feel good at first blush, consider why you are out on the preserve. For many of our users, you likely visit a preserve to get away from the built environment. The most tangible sign of humankind in natural areas are trails. The more trails there are, the less immersive your natural experience. Slow down and enjoy that experience. Don’t take short cuts. Perfect your map reading skills and use the formal trail junction signs to help you orient yourself in your surroundings. And please stay on formal trails and view untrampled areas from afar. 

Please help us protect these lands for you. Please don’t make us protect them from you. 

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