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Share The Trail

Many trails in national and state forests are multiple-use trails and accommodate a spectrum of trail uses. While great differences may exist in the specific trail activities, trail users are often seeking some of the same benefits such as challenge, solitude, socialization, clean air, natural surroundings, and escape. Many trail uses have existed since the turn of the century, while others have evolved in recent decades. The following recommendations are designed to help all users safely enjoy the trails in our national and state forests.

Hikers

  • When being approached by others traveling faster than you, step aside and let them pass.
  • If you are in a group, do not block the trail to other users.
  • Equestrians have the right of way.

Equestrians

  • Travel at a safe speed. Approach each turn as if someone were around the turn.
  • Let users know if your horse is safe to pass.
  • If a trail is muddy, the weight of a horse can damage a trail. Attempt to use an alternate trail if possible.

Mountain Bikers

  • Keep your speed to a slow, safe pace. Approach each turn as if someone were around the turn.
  • When approaching a horse from the rear, stop and let the rider know you are there. Ask the rider if it is safe to pass. Remember that it is natural for a horse to flee from predators (or in this case, fast moving objects).
  • When approaching an oncoming horse, stop and pull off to the downhill side of the trail to let the horse pass.

These recommendations can also apply to walkers, cross-country skiers, stock users, snowshoers, hunters, anglers, and the variety of other people that use the trails. Trails within Wilderness areas are not open to bicycles because these trails are limited to “primitive” modes of travel. Many non-wilderness trails are also limited to primitive travel. Many higher elevation trails may be available for cross-country skiing and just not have traditionally been promoted for such use. Contact the trail managing agency for the most current information.

Many of the trails on Federal lands are located on multiple-use lands (except those within National Park service units and wilderness) where uses include wildlife habitat, recreation, watershed, grazing, mining, and timber harvesting. Please be prepared to encounter these various land uses, as many of them are traditional land uses. In addition, remember that in most cases, grazing is permitted within wilderness. In areas where grazing occurs, please respect the ranchers’ needs and desires as you pass through these areas. This includes avoiding livestock, livestock improvements, and structures, leaving all gates as you find them, keeping pets on leash, and adopting a “stewardship ethic” while using the area.


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