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  • J.R. Ogden
  • Sat September 26 2020
  • Posted Sep 30

In these strange times since coronavirus, COVID-19 and derecho have become common terms in Eastern Iowa, one thing has remained the same.

We can still get outdoors for walks, runs, bike rides, whatever we want — as long as we keep our eyes out for the debris left by the aforementioned derecho.

It appears, more and more people are getting outdoors, taking breaks from home seclusion as well as day trips to state parks instead of weeklong vacations.

But with more people hitting our parks and trails, it’s important to do it right — to be respectful of the space and the others who are using it.

With that in mind, here are some tips when sharing that trail with others or taking a hike in your favorite park.

Trail use

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation notes that trail uses increases in “nice weather.” Fall is officially here and while it may not consistently provide summer-like warmth, it is a favorite time of year for many outdoor enthusiasts.

“To ensure the safety of all trail users, INHF would like to remind you of some general rules and etiquette tips to follow on Iowa’s 1,800 miles of trails:

Be courteous — Acknowledge others on the trail. The trail is a shared resource for all to enjoy. Slow down when passing others. Alert them to your passing by ringing a bell, saying “passing” or “on your left” when passing. Do not wander off onto private property. Stay on the trail.

Be alert — Be ready to yield to other trail users. If you are on “wheels” (bicycle, skates) you must yield to those on “heels” (pedestrians, horses). Pedestrians must yield to horses (if allowed on that particular trail). Ride or walk to the right and pass on the left. Be aware of location of other trail users. If you’re listening to music or on a phone call, make sure you can still hear other trail users approaching.

Be safe — In case you are injured, know your location, bring a cellphone, travel with a buddy and inform someone you are heading out on a trail.

Be prepared — It is a good idea to look at a map, check the day’s weather and know the trail hours of operation and usage rules. Bring water, sunscreen and other weather-appropriate gear. Equip yourself or your bike with the proper accessories if going on the trail at night.


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