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Why a Cold Long Winter Might Be Good

Okay I haven't completely lost my senses and I'm looking forward to Spring as much as you are. But there are some benefits for hikers from the long cold winter. 

If we get a good cold winter that lasts for many months, that can help cut back pests and diseases, and that's good for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

You can celebrate this awful winter next Spring when there are fewer mosquitoes circling your head looking for a juicy landing spot. Mosquito populations which winter outside as larvae until spring, will be cut back by the severe cold which is known to impact their survival rates throughout the winter. 

While a sustained cold snap won't wipe out invasive species like the gypsy moth or the European beetle that carries Dutch elm disease, it can kill some larvae and slow the bugs' spread. It's also the enemy of ticks, which carry Lyme disease. 

A heavy winter also helps to recharge fields, wetlands, lakes and streams – as long as all that snow slowly melts away into the ground in the spring, rather than a rapid thaw that prevents all that moisture from soaking into the soil. 

The ice storm this winter downed a lot of trees and branches which are in the process of being cleaned up on area hiking trails. It has also weakened some of the branches remaining in the trees and the danger to hikers this Spring is that some of those branches will fall or become weakened even more by repeated wind storms.

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Winter 2014 Outlook
 

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