Friday, May 7, 2010

Hit the trails—courteously

As spring breaks out, trails all around the Wood River Valley are beckoning legions of hikers and bikers and their canine sidekicks for healthful outdoor exercise and recreation.

An estimated 1,500 miles of trails weave their way through the valley and the nearby Sawtooth National Recreation area, more than enough to accommodate foot and bike traffic.

Trails generally are narrow, however, often rocky and difficult under foot or under bike wheels. When bikers and hikers are occasionally squeezed into confining narrows, courtesy becomes an utter essential.

For their part, bikers should alert hikers when approaching from behind with a ringing bell or a shout out—"Coming up on your right!"—to give hikers time to step aside and make way. Slowing down during an encounter is just common sense.

Hikers have their obligations, too. Giving bikers the right-of-way avoids accidents and preserves the multi-use safety of trails. And it's good etiquette for hikers to bring along bags to pick up pooch poop left on the trails.

When courtesy and sharing trails prevail, outings for everyone are more pleasant and problem-free. Trails are there for multiple uses, and not the exclusive enjoyment of any one group.

And don't forget to exchange cheerful greetings with a friendly word and wave. Hospitality is a celebrated virtue in the Wood River Valley.

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