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Trail Tips and Safety

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Although some trails are designated for a single use, many trails are shared.  Because of the diversity of trails and the people who use them, it is important that visitors follow basic guidelines to ensure a safe, pleasant experience for all trail users.  Here are some tips to enhance the safety of your adventure and lighten your impact on Florida's natural environment. 

 

For All Trail Users...

  • Before you leave, make sure a responsible person knows your plans—where you will be and when you expect to return.       

  • Carry identification that includes name, phone number, pertinent medical information, and emergency contact.

  • Carry coins for phone calls, or take a mobile phone.

  • Check the weather forecast for your destination. Pack clothing, equipment and supplies accordingly.

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.  Obey all trail-use rules posted at trailheads.

  • Whenever possible, always be on the trail with someone else.

  • Wear the appropriate safety gear.

  • Make adequate provisions for water.  Carry water and emergency supplies even on short trips.

  • Stay on designated trails.

  • Respect private property and route closures.

  • Be alert for natural hazards such as stinging insects, thorny vines, poison ivy, and overhanging limbs.

  • Wear fluorescent orange vests, hats, or clothing when traveling during hunting season. Respect the rights of hunters when you encounter them.

  • Please leave plants and animals undisturbed.

  • Pack out all trash that you bring to the area.

  • Do not leave valuable items visible in your vehicle when parked at a trailhead. Store valuables in the trunk or other secure location while you are on the trail.

For Hikers...

  • When approached from behind by others traveling faster than yourself, step aside and let them pass.

  • If you are in a group, do not block the trail to other users.

  • Remember that equestrians have the right of way.

For Equestrians...

  • Travel at a safe speed.  Approach each turn as if someone were around the turn.

  • Let users know when it is safe to pass your horse.

  • If a trail is muddy, the weight of a horse can damage it.  Attempt to use an alternate trail if one is available.

For Bicyclists/Mountain Bikers...

  • In Florida, bicyclists under age 16 must wear a helmet.

  • Be visible.

  • Follow the same traffic laws as drivers when on paved trails and when on the road. Stay to the right unless you are passing.

  • Give verbal warning and use caution when overtaking other trail users.

  • Travel at a safe speed. 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.

For Paddlers...

  • Know river conditions. Be aware of water levels and current.

  • Florida law requires a readily accessible and wearable Coast Guard approved personal flotation (PFD) device for each occupant.  Children under age 6 must wear PFDs.

  • Place food and gear in watertight containers.

  • Watch for motorboats.  Stay to the right and turn the bow into the wake.

  • Allow a minimum of 2 miles per hour paddling time under normal conditions.

 


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