Trails are an essential component of the outdoor experience. By concentrating traffic onto a narrow ribbon of soil, trails help protect natural areas by limiting the trampling of vegetation and disturbance of habitat that off-trail travel sometimes causes. Remember that trails degrade over time and require constant upkeep. The degradation of trails increases when trail users cut switchbacks or ignore trail closures. User-created social trails can lack important features of properly designed ones, leading to greater erosion and heightened impacts on plants and animals. An example of a social trail here in Castle Rock is at the Sunset Drive trail entrance at Rock Park. Visitors park in a nearby cul-de-sac down the road and cut up to the trail as soon as it comes into view instead of walking a few feet more to the step trail entrance. This social trail is not sustainable and will continue to erode over time creating a gully which will carry dirt and debris down to the road. Please be a responsible trail user and stay on the trail and don’t create social trails.