Why Staying On Marked Trails Is Important

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Help Protect A Fragile Natural Area

You may have seen the signs while running or hiking at Wildwood: Not A Trail. These signs mark paths created by visitors in places where no trail was intended to be.

Metroparks rangers are asking visitors for their help to maintain Wildwood for the benefit of everyone by staying on the marked trails, and staying off these “unofficial trails.”

Here’s why:

Natural Resource Protection: Wildwood is a preserve with known locations of rare plants – especially in the area of an often used, unofficial trail north of the Orange Trail. The park staff has been working to close off this path to prevent walkers and runners from using it.

The area is identified as a Resource Protection Zone in Wildwood’s General Management Plan, which states “any development or uses by park visitors would negatively impact the resources. This area is highly fragile…” It is an important natural area that needs to be protected.

Erosion Control: With close to a million visitors a year, a small unofficial trail quickly becomes a beaten path. In some areas, as the vegetation and roots are trampled, erosion becomes a significant problem.

Safety: A trail that is not on the official map does not receive the same level of staff attention. Staff may not learn about safety issues along these paths, which are not maintained to Metroparks usual standards.

When visiting any Metropark, please stay on the marked trails.