Trail Etiquette

trail etiquette

As the Trails Coordinator for the Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT), a position I have held for 12 years now, people sometimes ask me what complaints I most often receive about trails and trail users.  I have to say that by far bad behavior by dogs and dog owners on the trails cause the most complaints.  There seems to be an attitude that dogs have the right to “run free” on the trails here in Nevada County.

Dog owners should always have their dogs on leash when using one of the local trails developed by BYLT.  We have had elderly people knocked by dogs on trails with resulting fractures, muddy paws on hikers from “friendly” dogs jumping up on them, and cases of dogs attacking other dogs and chasing wildlife when free to roam the trail.

The other big offense is the dog poop that is left on the trail.  Everyone who takes their dog on a public trail MUST take with them bags so that they can pick up their dogs poop and take it with them and dispose of it at home.  It is your responsibility dog owner, not the Land Trust, the City, the State Park or anyone else.  If you are going to use the trail with your dog, please don’t spoil the experience for everyone else by leaving your dog’s stinky, slimy, dirty deposit for others to deal with or avoid.

But what else do people have a problem with.  Two other complaints top the list, one in noise and the second is lack of courtesy when trail users of two types (think mountain bike vs. hiker) meet on the trail.

Portions of most of our trails pass by people’s back yards, and your voice carries a long distance in our rural subdivisions.  When you are on the trail with your friends try to keep your voices low, or be quiet and take in the sights and sounds provided by your trail experience.  Turn your cell phone off.  It should be taken out for use on the trail only in an emergency.  People don’t want to hear your problems and gripes out on the trail, use this time to refresh and renew.

Finally, trail users, keep in mind that the biggest conflict between users of differing types is the difference in speed.  Your responsibility is always to share the trail with other users.  This means that if you are riding a bike or running, that you slow down as you approach slower moving traffic on the trail.  If