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Meadow Vista Trails Assn

Trail Use Guidelines

MVTA requests you follow these guidelines when using any of the trails listed on this website.

General Guidelines

  • BEFORE YOU GO: Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Buddy up when using trails that traverse cougar habitat. If unfamiliar with the trail, have someone who knows the trail guide you. You can also discuss your planned route with an experienced MVTA member. Contact our Trails Coordinator -- She/he can provide more detailed information or refer you to someone more familiar with the trail you want to use.
  • Observe posted parking restrictions, if any, at the trailhead. Leave room for others to park. Take precautions to discourage theft from your vehicle.
  • Be aware of common hazards. If you are new to the area, take a few moments to read about hazardous plants and animals you may encounter.
  • Take plenty of water. Don't drink water from creeks unless you have no other choice in an emergency.
  • Stay on the trail. Don't cut corners on switchbacks. Shortcut paths will erode in wet weather, causing serious (expensive) damage.
  • Respect all posted trail restrictions. Not all trails are multi-use or dedicated for public use. Not all existing trails in the area covered by an MVTA map are necessarily shown. If you "go exploring" onto a side trail, you may end up on private property or have difficulty finding your way back.
  • If you're using your mountain bike on multi-use trails, expect to encounter hikers and equestrians. When approaching a horseback rider from either direction, slow to a stop and speak out to the rider. Otherwise, the horse may "spook" and injure you and/or the rider.
  • When using the trail with your dog, remember the County does have a leash law. Should you meet other people, horses, or animals on the trail, you must be able to control your pet.
  • Don't Litter. Carry out what you carry in. Take the extra step and remove litter you find along the route. Avoid leaving animal droppings on the trail.
  • When Nature calls: If you find you must relieve yourself, please find a spot several yards off trail and at least 100 ft. from any creek or drainage bottom. Cover up after yourself with dirt or rocks.
  • Leave all gates as you found them. Never leave a stock gate open expecting to "come right back."
  • Trail maintenance, including brush cutting and earthwork, needs to be coordinated through the appropriate agency or private owner. MVTA can determine who has jurisdiction and help you complete required paperwork, if needed.

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Trailhead Security Suggestions

  1. Remove personal items from your vehicle!!! This is by far the greatest problem and is the number one reason an area becomes a "hot spot" for theft -- especially with female trail users who tend to leave purses in their vehicles.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings; make note of suspicious vehicles or persons. Providing the sheriff with a general description of a vehicle or occupants is excellent; a license plate number is even better.
  3. Do not leave a garage door opener in your vehicle. Often burglars will take only your garage door opener after finding out where you live (making note of your vehicle registration or other personal items.) The burglars know you'll be on the trail for several hours and will pay a visit to your home while you are out.
  4. Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home. Locking your Vehicle Registration and Proof of Insurance in the glove box is Ok, but taking them with you is better. Identity theft is a primary objective of thieves, more so than the $10 you may have in your wallet or purse. A thief need only take a photo of one of your checks in order to make counterfeit copies. With the advent of camera phones, stealing information is now much easier.
  5. Upon discovery of a possible theft, take action at once to protect your finances by notifying your bank and card companies -- even if you think nothing was taken. You can place a 90 day theft alert on your accounts. Identity theft can happen quickly and cross literally hundreds of jurisdictions with the push of a computer button. Law enforcement is attempting to keep up with the technology that thieves are using, but nothing is better than your prompt report.

Above information provided by Placer County Sheriff's Department.

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Common Trail Hazards to Avoid

 Contaminated Water:

Giardia protozoanCreek water, no matter how clean it may appear, is often contaminated by human or animal fecal matter washed down from surrounding hillsides. The most common danger is an intestinal disease called Giardia. Associated symptoms include chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, fatigue and loss of weight. Treatment by a physician is necessary to rid yourself of the infection.

Always bring along sufficient drinking water for the trail. If you run out, surface water or melted snow can be made safe by boiling for at least three minutes, using an iodine-based purifier or a Giardia-rated water filter.

Keep in mind, however, it is better to drink the creekwater than to risk the effects of severe thirst: Dehydration can seriously interfere with your ability to make rational decisions on the trail. Don't turn an unfortunate situation into one that can threaten your survival.

 Poison Oak:

Poison oak leaves

The shiny leaves of this shrub grow in groups of three on smooth stems. Usually found growing as a bush, 3 to 4ft high, it sometimes will grow as a vine in trees. Leaves are green until Autumn, when they turn various shades of red and orange before falling.

Do not touch the stems or leaves, as the oil of this plant is toxic to humans and may cause a severe rash or blisters. Symptoms may not appear until several hours after contact.

Wash with an anti-poison oak remedy, such as "Tecnu," or with rubbing alcohol immediately after returning home. If you get poison oak in your eyes or develop severe blisters, see a physician at once.

 Rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes are sometimes encountered on our trails, especially in summer. A rattlesnake will not strike at you unless it is disturbed or cornered, in which case, it will defend itself. Give them distance and respect. Don't try to get close for a photo.

DO NOT kill or harm any rattlesnakes. They are valuable members of our ecosystem; they have a right to be here, too.

If you are bitten by a rattler, call the California Poison Control System hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

 Ticks:

Deer Ticks

Ticks are prevalent in the foothills, especially in mild, wet weather, crawling onto you as you brush past foliage on the trail. Tick bites can be painful and also carry the risk of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is an illness transmitted by deer ticks, the smaller of two commonly found species. Symptoms in advanced cases are severe, including arthritis, meningitis, neurological problems, and/or cardiac symptoms. These symptoms can occur from within a few weeks to over a year after the tick bite. Early signs can include a circular rash around the site of the tick bite and flu-like symptoms. Timely treatment of Lyme Disease can cure or lessen the severity of the disease. If you experience these symptoms, be certain to tell your doctor you were bitten by a tick.

If you find an attached tick, immediately remove it: Grasp the tick by its body and pull slowly but firmly until it releases its grip. Do not attempt to get it to "back out on its own" by using a hot match head, kerosene or any other such folk remedy.

To avoid ticks, here are a few precautions:

  • Wear light colored clothing -- ticks are attracted to darker colors.
  • Apply insect repellent to clothing and exposed parts of the body.
  • Stay on wider trails; avoid tall grass and brush.
  • Keep pets on a leash, out of contact with tall grass and brush.
  • Check clothing, hair and exposed skin frequently for ticks.
  • Brush off clothing after leaving the trail. Change clothing completely when you get home and brush out your hair thoroughly.

 Mountain Lions:

Mountain LionMountain lions -- also known as cougars, panthers, or pumas -- are normally very elusive but have been known to attack people hiking or running alone. They are solitary creatures except during mating, each maintaining a territory of up to five square miles. Humans rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild.

To reduce the chances of an unwanted encounter:

  • Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn when lions normally hunt.
  • Always keep children and pets close at hand.

In the event of an encounter:

  • Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or is with its young.
  • If you see a lion, stay calm and face the lion. Do not run, because this may trigger the lion’s instinct to attack.
  • If the lion approaches or acts aggressive, make noise and throw rocks, branches or any other item at hand, without turning your back or bending over.
  • If attacked, fight back. Try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Fight back with rocks, sticks, or even your bare hands.

 Bears:

Mountain LionThe American Black Bear is common to North America. Sightings in our region -- usually in the river canyons -- are infrequent, but veteran trail users often recognize fresh scat, a sure sign that bears are active in the area.

Adult Black Bears actually range in color from black to light brown and can weigh from about 90 to 600 pounds. They feed mainly on roots, fruits, nuts and berries; also on worms, grubs, fish and small animals.

Bears do not prey on humans, but an encounter with one can turn deadly if they are cornered or are feeding or have cubs nearby.

In the event of an unwanted encounter:

  • Do not approach the bear, especially if it is feeding or is with its young. Absolutely do not approach a cub. The mother may be out of sight, but is definitely nearby.
  • Stay calm; do not turn and run. If you have a dog with you, keep it on leash and under control to avoid provocation.
  • If the bear approaches or acts aggressively, make noise and throw rocks, branches or any other item at hand to distract it. Make sure you leave it a clear way to retreat. (Note that bears will stand on their hind feet to aid their vision or sense of smell. This behavior is not aggressive.)

 Other Critters:

Other animals you might encounter are generally not dangerous, with some exceptions...

  • Deer are plentiful everywhere this region. Do not approach a deer, especially if it is with its young. Deer have very sharp hooves that can inflict a life-threatening wound in an instant.
  • Skunks, foxes, coyotes, opossums and squirrels are also common. Avoid contact with these smaller creatures. If one seems unafraid, or even "friendly," you should not assume that it is "tame." More likely, it has rabies. Do not let it touch you. If you are scratched or bitten, seek immediate medical attention.

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MVTA tries to assure the accuracy of the trails information presented,
but can make no claims to such. Please let us know if any entries are incorrect.

Email your comments or questions to our Trails Coordinator.