December 7, 2021

Public Land Basics: Trail Etiquette

Public Land Basics: Trail Etiquette

As the Outdoor Community grows to welcome more people to public lands, it is important that we all do our part to keep the land and each other happy and thriving.  Maintaining proper trail etiquette is a great place to start!

Here are some helpful tips to know when going for a hike.  

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is a non-profit organization that provides research, education, and skills to help people care for natural lands.  They have established seven easily understood minimum impact principles for everyone to take with them into the outdoors.

The Seven Principles are:

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Stay On The Trail

It is important to stay on designated paths to minimize human impact on the ecosystem.  Human footprints can cause erosion, introduce foreign and invasive plant growth, and kill certain types of wildlife.  Unless preparing to pass a fellow hiker or making room for someone to pass you, please, stay on the trail

Read The Signs

Trail signs contain highly important information about trail closures, restoration efforts, conditions, and updated rules and regulations.  The information on these signs is regularly reviewed and updated to contain the most recent and accurate information about the specified area.  It is important to stop and read these signs to avoid unintentionally damaging the efforts of the land management organization that oversees the areas you're hiking in.

Be Kind

Many adventurers visit the outdoors to view, listen and take in natural areas.  Obstructive or rude behavior can detract from the feeling of quiet and privacy many are seeking to find.  Greeting fellow hikers with a wave or a smile is a great way to foster a sense of camaraderie, but it is important to minimize excessive noise, uncontrolled pets, and human impact on trails.  Being a kind and respectful adventurer will help cultivate an inclusive and safe environment for all.

Do Not Disturb Wildlife

It is important to maintain quiet and distance when observing wildlife.  Sudden movements or loud noises are stressful to animals and can cause them to become scared or defensive.  Approaching an animal to feed them or snap a photo puts you and the animal at serious risk of illness or injury.  If you come across a wounded or sick animal, notify a ranger or game warden and keep your distance.  It's for the wildlife's safety, and yours.