The trail has been freshly trackset and is still soft. The walker is leaving large divots and clumps which will be dangerous after the snow sets up.
What would be the best way to approach someone who is walking in the ski tracks? When I say “best,” I mean what would ultimately produce the desired outcome we are seeking?
I’d like readers to suggest a short but friendly “talk” to have handy when seeing someone walking in the ski tracks. The first line should be non-confrontational and your communication should politely explain why it is dangerous and inconsiderate to walk in the tracks. My suggestion is “Hi, are you a tourist?” It covers a lot of ground, and whatever the answer, it allows you an opening to continue.
There will always be defiant and obstinate people who choose to continue with their destructive ways. For them I propose the “Walk of Shame.” Take their photo and we’ll post it on the blog on a special page. Just having the page will deter many. Yes, I know, I will be accused by someone of advocating vigilante justice.
Walking in the ski tracks is never acceptable, but keep in mind that some trails are multi-use and walking is acceptable on the corduroy.
“Where are you going?” If the offender is indeed a tourist, you can always say they are on the wrong trail. Hopefully they turn around and go back, but it does nothing to educate them about their destructive behavior.
Kindness and sharing information on “how to” is what I will choose. I trust most people are simply not aware of the damage or potential danger. If you are not an avid outdoorsperson and have never cross country skied, how would you know? I too have come across this even with good signage Parks Canada has provided. I trust with a gentle word and simple explanation it will only happen once. In this time where so much hatred and little tolerance prevails, I choose kindness and compassion. We are so lucky to have all we have.