Millions of people will visit national, state, and local parks this year. Our parks offer us tremendous opportunities for recreation such as bird watching, hiking, wildlife observation, rock climbing, and, of course, fishing. With so many activities drawing so many people, our parks receive tremendous pressure. If you visit a park, remember to follow and stay on the designated trails.

BoatUS ANGLER: RecycledFish Stewardship Tips

Stay on the Trail

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Millions of people will visit national, state, and local parks this year. Our parks offer us tremendous opportunities for recreation such as bird watching, hiking, wildlife observation, rock climbing, and, of course, fishing. With so many activities drawing so many people, our parks receive tremendous pressure. If you visit a park, remember to follow and stay on the designated trails.

Why it is important to the fish: Mountain meadows are great reservoirs. Runoff in the spring causes creeks to overflow their banks and flood the neighboring meadows. Mountain meadows often sit on top of hundreds of feet of permeable soil which, in turn, sits on top of an impervious base of rock. This forms an ideal layer that will store water throughout the spring, summer, and fall. As the seasons progress, water leaks from meadows back into the streams and on downriver.

Blazing a trail through a mountain meadow compacts and inhibits the ability of water to permeate the soil. Trails create gutters that will widen, through erosion, and drain water from the meadow. When water is taken away from mountain meadows, plants that are suited to rapidly drying soils invade and take over. This destroys the meadow's sponge-like characteristics increasing the erosive properties of the meadow and the neighboring stream. Ultimately, the desiccation of a mountain meadow reduces the amount of habitat available to fish.

Remember to stay on the trail! Stray steps can upset fragile ecosystems, the effects can be felt downstream.

For More Conservation Tips visit www.recycledfish.org

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