Rain Rain Go Away
Rain Rain Go Away
The weather at the park has been less than desirable lately with measurable rain fall for six consecutive days. The total amount of rain that has fallen at the park as of Sunday morning was 1.83” and we are not going to dry out anytime soon. The weather forecast calls for rain every day until Thursday, May 26th. If it rains each day, will bring our consecutive number of days with rain to ten! While the rain doesn’t deter visitors from heading out to the park to camp or hike, there are some potential effects that this much rain will have on the park which could impact your visit.
The biggest and most obvious effect from the rain is with Little Fishing Creek which is rising fast. It’s not uncommon for the creek depth to increase by as much as three feet when it rains, but it has risen nearly five feet in three days! As of Sunday afternoon, we haven’t had any rain so we do not expect the creek level to get any higher. However, it is still four feet above normal. When the rain began, Little Fishing Creek was one foot below average, so the higher levels have not impacted the park trails yet. If the creek rises another foot many of the trails will be flooded and unsafe for visitors to use.
Another effect that the rain has on the park is on the bike trails. Rain causes muddy and slick conditions, which can be unsafe for mountain bikers to ride through. Even though much of the trails divert the runoff water well, some ponding does occur and, because of the different soil types, some parts of the mountain bike trails take longer to dry out then others. The park staff take into consideration how much rain has fallen in the last 24 to 48 hours when determining whether the trails are safe for riders or not. It is likely that the trails will need two or three days to dry out. If the mountain bike trails are closed, there will be a sign posted at the trail head as well as an alert placed on the website asking visitors not to ride the trails.
Not all the effects of rain can have a negative impact on your visit to the park. When the rain ends for several hours many animals that call the park home venture out in search of food or sunlight. This would be a great opportunity to see turtles, snakes, lizards, and salamanders along the trails or along the wood line. If you’re lucky enough to spot an animal, please observe it from a distance and resist the urge to interact with it or make loud noises. Some animals frighten easily and can become unintentionally aggressive if you startle them with a loud noise. Be mindful that this is their home and you are just a visitor. Eventually, they will move on into the woods away from you.
If you’re planning a visit to the park in the next week or so, including Memorial Day weekend, please check the website or contact the park for the latest conditions as they could change by the hour. Please be safe when visiting the park and I hope that you can Make It to The Mountain in 2018!