Safe Trails: Wouldn't It Be Nice?


by Erick Wikum

Wouldn’t it be nice if our fellow trail users:

  • walked their dogs on 6-foot leashes,
  • picked up after themselves, their dogs and their horses,
  • controlled their children,
  • moved off the trail when stopped,
  • obeyed the trail speed limit (20mph),
  • stopped at road crossings,
  • called out “on your left” when passing and
  • <<insert your favorite pet peeve here>>?

When they don't, it can be frustrating, disappointing and, frankly, unsafe.

And yet, we must take the trail and its users as we find them and not how we wish them to be.  The reality is that many users do not know trail etiquette, while others are self-absorbed and forget that they are sharing the trail with others.  Children will be children, dogs will be dogs, horses will be horses, and there’s no telling what deer and other wild animals (who don’t read Trail Mail) might do.

Consequently, when we use the trail, we have no choice but to practice “defensive driving.”  That means expecting the unexpected. That means slowing and even being prepared to stop around other users, traveling in either direction, especially dog walkers, children and horseback riders.

Next month’s Safe Trails column will feature two powerful tips which, if practiced by the more than 2,000 readers of Trail Mail, will help transform trail users to be more as we wish them to be.

May 2021

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