Local naturalists are raising concerns about the damage being done to the trails in Ross Creek and Turner Park.

Susan Gronau with the Fort Saskatchewan Naturalist Society says that unauthorized trails have been meddling with the fragile ecosystem that exists in the area.

"The creek is littered and plugged with chain sawed live trees and dead logs from the ground, small trees were cut down, bundled, and tossed to the side," said Gronau. "Pallets have also been tossed in the creek,"

"When I see this, I think of the mallard ducks being disturbed while trying to nest and breed."

Gronau has noticed plenty of unauthorized trails throughout Fort Saskatchewan, many of which are so integrated into the trail system that they appear to be official. 

The damage that some of those trails can inflict on the environment can be more wide-reaching than you think. 

"It's not just the wildflowers. It's the grasses, the mosses, the fungi. Everything works together," said Gronau.

One of these trails goes right through a patch of Yellow Lady's Slipper, a rare plant in the area.

"People need to be more considerate and respectful of where they're building," said Gronau. "Gather a bit of information before you start hacking away at native plants, because it's those plants that draw the wildlife, and without them, we're doomed."

Gronau mentioned that most of the unpaved trails in Fort Saskatchewan were created without permission of the city council, and she hopes that there will be more restrictions on the trails in the future.

"For both Turner Park and Ross Creek, if there has to be a trail there, shut down all of them but one," said Gronau.

Forest ecosystems are especially fragile once the snow melts, with many animals breeding and plants beginning to bloom.