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Hiking 101: Trail Etiquette

Outdoor experiences should be positive. Everyone needs to work together to take care of and preserve nature.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind while you’re on a trail:

1. Leave no trace. Take your garbage (including doggy bags, coffee cups and water bottles) home with you. Leaving your garbage behind is disrespectful to nature and others.

2. Take only photographs and memories. Leave your environment in tact and don’t remove anything like rocks, plants, animals, etc.

3. Respect others on the trail. Keep excessive noise to a minimum and walk to one side when people want to pass. My biggest “trail peeve” is when people see me coming at a fast speed behind them, but don’t allow me to pass. I don’t like to be rude and demand that they move, but I am very tempted to do so.

4. No graffiti or property damage. Resist taking out your spray can and markers.

5. Stay on the trail where possible. Reduce damage to your surroundings. There could be fragile growth such as trilliums, lichen and moss all around.

6. Respect wildlife. Wildlife are unpredictable and can pose a physical threat to humans. Also, wildlife needs to rely on their natural environment for survival. If people feed them, they will get accustomed to it and approach you for food. While bears, raccoons, chipmunks and other animals may be cute, they can present a physical danger or become pesky.

Monica's shadow on cedar
Monica Ng

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Below is a video of Banff National Park’s rules. The rules are practical and apply everywhere.

Learn about the “leave no trace” initiative. Leave No Trace Canada.

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