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Why trail etiquette is important as hiking season approaches: "Always be prepared for anything unexpected"

JeffCo park officials send friendly reminders on trails and hiking safety
JeffCo park officials send friendly reminders on trails and hiking safety 02:43

The days are getting nicer and lots of people in Colorado are going to be shaking off that cabin fever by getting out for a hike or bike ride in the coming weeks. Jefferson County wants those folks to remember the basics of trail etiquette to keep everyone safe.

As a dog foster parent, Pamela Hill hikes with her pups a lot. So she is a professional when it comes to making sure she and her pups are safe hikers.

"You do want to think ahead. What's best for my dog? I want to have fun, we want to come home healthy, happy, safe," Hill said.


She practices good trail etiquette like making sure her dogs are always on the right type of leash.

"You do not walk with the retractable lead because you're sharing the trail with horses, people and bicycles," she said.

JeffCo park ranger Mary Ann Bonnel says this time of year they make it a point to remind people that it's up to them to stay safe and keep their parks clean.

 A big part of that is sharing the trail with everyone.


"Horses have the right of way of all the different trail types. Beyond that, cyclists are supposed to yield to everyone but we all know that there are certain areas where maybe, because of a rock problem or because if you were slow down, you could fall maybe it makes more sense to just kind of step to the side. So, it really is about common sense," Bonnel said.

She adds, "If you've got a dog with you keep that dog on a short lead as you're passing someone else."

And the county asks to please pick up your dog's poop and carry it out with you.

"It's very high in nitrates, it can have a lot of pathogens in it. So, it can change soil quality and it can actually impact water quality very negatively," Bonnel said.


Hill adds make sure you put it in a trash can.

"Do not leave it at the side of the trail," she said.

Hill says she sees a lot of people being a good steward of the land, but she does have some trail wisdom to share.

"Always be prepared for anything unexpected," she said.

Some other things to remember:

- Always bring plenty of water for you and your dog.

- Take breaks.

- Make sure you have first aid for you and your dog. 

- If it's hotter than 80 degrees it might best to leave your furry friend at home. 

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