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Trail Etiquette

Over the holidays Mark and I managed to get out cross-country skiing, and although I was pleased to see lots of people enjoying themselves outside I was disappointed that simple trail etiquette was not being followed.  There is no official written set of rules for the trails so I understand if people are new to the outdoor culture that it can be easily overlooked.  So here is a refresher; following this trail etiquette guideline will keep the outdoors enjoyable for everyone.

Pack Out What You Pack In

If you can, leave the trail and areas you visit in better condition than when you found it. This means you should be packing out all garbage (this includes apple cores and banana peels) and any garbage you find on the way that was left by not so considerate hikers.  Some people will argue that it’s ok to leave behind compostable material, but anything not naturally found in the environment will attract animals, potentially making the trail dangerous.

Give Right Of Way To Uphill Hikers

It takes a lot more energy to move uphill than it does downhill. So when encountering hikers coming up, kindly move to the side to let them pass. If you’re travelling in a large group, kindly step aside to let faster hikers pass you.

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Leave The Cairns Alone

Cairns (piles of rocks made to act as trail markers) are there for a reason, so don’t kick them down for fun.  In good spirit, add a small rock to them as you pass.

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Stick To The Trail, Especially On Switchbacks

The reason why we all venture outside is to experience the untouched outdoors.  Stick to the trail to minimize trail erosion. This is especially important on switch backs where the steep slope is more prone to erosion, so no cutting corners!

Don’t Walk On Cross-Country Ski Tracks

It takes a group effort to maintain cross-country ski tracks, especially if they expand across kilometres, help contribute by not walking/snowshoeing onto of them.

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Say Hello To Other Hikers

Not only is it a friendly thing to do, but having conversation with passerby hikers could deliver valuable trail information up ahead. Or if something were to happen to you, they can help point rescuers in your direction. If you see anyone in distress, offer help!

So the next time you’re out, keep these simple trail etiquette rules in the back of your mind.  After all, if we are all about sharing the outdoors with others, may as well make it enjoyable for all.

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