Hiking Safety _ Education Course

Document Sample
Hiking Safety _ Education Course Powered By Docstoc
                               Plan Ahead
Know your hike and your terrain. Plan for the journey by researching the area on the
web. Simply type the park's name into a search engine, and see what you find. Chances
are, the park's site will offer loads of online information about their best season,
activities, trails, and even numbers for contacting the Park Rangers. Some of these sites
will even offer printable trail maps online. Be sure to talk to a local Ranger prior to the
hike, and ask for information regarding safety and environmental issues. The Park
Ranger knows the area well enough to steer you clear of danger and towards the best
sites on the trail.


                      Pine Mountain Hiking Trail
               Know Your Environment
Whether you are hiking the Everglades, or the back yard, you must know your
environment. Any time humans interact with nature; there is a chance of injury. It's best
to know which plants and animals in the area should be avoided.

It's also important to be very aware of weather. Research the weather patterns in your
park before the hike. This way you can avoid the camping nightmare of waking up in a
flooded tent. Although swimming may be on the adventure agenda, most hikers find
they prefer to do it during the day and with prior planning.
                Always Start Small
The first hike of the season should be a short excursion. Those
who are just learning about surviving a night in the wilderness
should not be very far from their basecamp (home, car,
campsite). Until a hiker completes their first aid training, they
should never venture very far from proper medical attention.
It's also good precaution to camp close enough to home for a
quick sprint away from a rummaging raccoon or a spooky
snake, or even a midnight trip to the restroom.
                 Know Your Water
We all have visions of drinking from the crystal clear
mountain brook babbling over the rocks after a hot hike, but
beware of the water! Although it appears safe and clean to
drink, most natural water sources have huge amounts of
bacteria that can make brave adventurers very sick. Be sure
to bring your own water or water filter for drinking. Although
it may be fine to wash in the stream, a smart hiker will only
drink purified water.
                   Be Smart With Food
A backpack dinner of a smashed ham sandwich, chip crumbs, and a half of a
granola bar can be compared to fine gourmet cooking when exploring the
wilderness. After a hard day's hike, many adventurers thank their lucky stars
for a feast from plastic, so good planning should surround the brave
backpacker's dinner. Whether hiking in an area known to have bears or
sloshing through streams, it's a good idea to keep all food in tightly sealed
containers. If animals can smell your rations, they may want to explore further,
and a hiker is generally very disappointed to find a fat, happy squirrel in their
pack, rather than a salami sandwich.
                        Have a Fire Source
In ancient civilizations of hunters and gatherers, one person was appointed the title of
fire-bearer, and charged with the extremely important task of creating heat. The fire
was central to the camp, keeping everyone warm and cooking a meal, so the fire-
bearer's job was an important responsibility assigned only to the most intelligent,
cautious, and mature members of the group. We recommend choosing your fire-
bearer carefully and wisely to avoid forest fires and injury.

The fire-bearer should be well-versed in fire safety regulations, should know where
they can build fires in the park, and should NEVER leave the fire unattended. To get
more information ask your local park ranger for fire-building advice. They will know
whether it's the legal season for building fires, they will be able to direct your crew to
a campsite with an existing fire ring, and they will probably even be able to tell you
which wood you should burn for a cozy campfire.
        Learn First Aid and Carry a Kit
The best medicine for adventurers is that of prevention. By avoiding injury in
the wild, everyone has fun and no one ends up in the hospital instead of
swimming in the lake. But hikers can't plan for every instance, and
sometimes there are accidents.
Know what to do in case of an emergency. By using first aid, a quick-thinking
kid can save a friend's life. First aid training teaches ways to overcome stress
in an emergency and react with the courage of a hero. It also gives the
knowledge of how to deal with specific types of injuries.
                     Carry Field Guides
When you step into the alien world of a wilderness environment, you are likely
to see plants, insects, and animals you never noticed before. Instead of trying to
remember what the creatures looked liked until you get home, take a field
guide for nature and look up the information on the spot. Find out if a plant is
poisonous, match an animal to it's name, or identify a species you've never
seen. Field guides offer the opportunity for great outdoor study, and
exceptional advice for mingling with nature.
         Be Careful What You Pack!
The most important rule of hiking- be smart about what you pack. A
beginning hiker generally becomes exhausted carrying a sack full of trail
munchies, games, a portable CD player, three sweaters, and a video
camera. Although pictures are nice, consider carrying a disposable
camera for a more enjoyable hike.

Through our outdoor adventures, we've met many interesting
situations. From the back pain caused by carrying too much food, to
the stomach rumbles that result from carrying too little. We've pieced
together a short list of our favorite things to have during an adventure.
These are a Few of our Favorite Things!
  •lightweight, weatherproof jacket
  •good hiking boots
  •extra socks
  •insect repellant
  •sunscreen and sunglasses
  •first aid kit
  •Moleskin for blisters
  •compass and map
  •cardboard camera
  •field guides
  •free information guides available from the Ranger Station or Visitor Center
  •trail food (enough to last the duration of the hike in well-sealed containers with at least one extra ration)
  •bedding and tent (if staying overnight)
  •fire source carried by a designated adult firebearer
  •whistle (one on each person)
  •emergency blanket
                     Think Before You Step
Complete common sense is sometimes lost in the excitement of the adventure. A
mesmerized hiker may be staring at local wildlife, and trip over a tree root causing serious
injury. This doesn't mean adventure walkers should stare only at the trail while hiking, but
rather that they should be constantly aware of their surroundings.

Keep an eye on the trail well in front of where you are walking, and always consider the path
before bounding forward, or you may find yourself lost in the briar patch with Brer Rabbit.
Stop moving long enough to take pictures of wildlife or research in a field guide. This allows
all members of the group to grab a breath and enjoy the scenery before hitting the trail
  Always Carry Out What You Carry In
            The first rule with interacting with the environment is:
                           Leave it as you found it.

This rule applies to the trees, the earth, the animals, the campsite, and even the
flowers. The caretakers of the wilderness areas and parks have dedicated their
lives to preserving what one careless hand could destroy in a second. Show
respect to Mother Nature. Carry out all of the garbage you carry in, don't feed
the animals, and leave only footsteps when you go. If everyone works together
to preserve parks, wilderness, and other hiking areas, we will all be able to
enjoy breathtaking hiking adventures in the future as well.
Know Where You Can Get Medical Care
Always be aware how far you may be from proper medical attention.
Ask your Ranger for this information. They will be able to direct you
to the nearest hospital or clinic prior to an accident. Knowing this
information in advance could save someone's life.
                 Never Hike Alone
NEVER- under any circumstances venture into the woods by
yourself. Outdoor adventures are fun for the family, but hiking is
only a group sport. The chances of becoming lost, sustaining injury,
or losing supplies is much higher when alone, making the sport
extremely dangerous. Always go with a group, tell someone where
you are going and when you plan to return, and check in at the
ranger station so they are aware of your location.
   Don't On and Off Layers Continually
Though it is good to dress in layers, choose which layers, and stick with
them for a time. Otherwise, you will exhaust yourself and try the patience
of the group you are with. It's generally better to be a little cool than too
hot, but don't change unless you are really getting uncomfortable.
   Put the Slowest Hiker in Front and
     Pace the Group to that Person
This works great in a group of differing ages! With the fast hikers in
the front, they have a tendency to spread out too much. Then
someone small at the back gets exhausted running to keep up. If you
do divide into faster and slower groups, the one ahead should never
get too far ahead and should stop and let the others catch up on a
regular basis.
               Take Regular Breaks
Make sure that kids are drinking water. In very hot areas dehydration
                       is especially dangerous.
                 Avoid Sunburn
Wear head and arm coverings in sunny or high altitude areas,
                   and use sun block.
                     Pace Yourself!
Encourage kids not to exhaust themselves early in a hike.
Sometimes little ones run at the beginning, run out of energy and
have to be carried. Remember: it is not the destination that teaches,
but the journey itself!

Although we may never reach the continental divide via granola
bars and hiking boots, the time spent traversing nature is special
family time. We talk, explore, learn, and exercise as a group. There
are interesting people and animals along the way. We even learn to
help a friend who is hurt through first aid training. We all work
together to achieve the end of the trail as brave and seasoned
outdoor adventurers.
 Viewing Ethics and Responsibilities
Most people who spend any time outdoors care a great deal about
wildlife and wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, even the innocent act of
observing wildlife can have a great impact on the animal if it is not done
properly. Observing a few guidelines will help us put the needs and
safety of wildlife first, to conserve wildlife and habitats and respect the
rights of others.
    Enjoy Wildlife From a Distance
The goal of successful wildlife watching is to see animals without
interrupting their normal behavior. Wildlife send clear signals you are
too close when they stop feeding and raise their head sharply, move
away, change direction of travel or appear nervous or aggressive. These
disturbances may result in an animal abandoning its young, injuring
itself as it tries to escape, quit feeding at a time of critical energy need
or displaying aggressive behavior toward you.
           Don't Feed the Animals
While it may seem exciting at the time to have an animal eat out your
hand, there are potential serious consequences. Some animals that
become accustomed to handouts may lose their natural fear of
humans. This may cause them to become aggressive with visitors who
refuse to feed them. This situation may lead to human injury, which in
turn usually means the death of the animal involved. Human food does
not meet the living requirements for many animals and may seriously
harm them. Animals who have become accustomed to handouts may
be faced with starvation once that food source is no longer available.
     Never Chase or Harass Animals
In some cases, valuable energy resources needed for survival are
used when animals are chased. Your wildlife viewing experience will
be more successful if you leave your pets at home.
        Don't Pick up Orphaned or Sick
Wild animals rarely abandon their young. In most cases the adults are nearby,
waiting for visitors to leave before they return. If an animal appears to be sick
or injured, behaves oddly or appears to be tame, leave it alone. There are a
number of wildlife diseases including rabies that can affect humans.
    Honor the Rights of Private
Always ask permission before entering private property.
       Leave no trace that you have been there.
        Respect the Rights of Other
          Recreationists at a Site
Be considerate when approaching wildlife that is already being
viewed. A loud noise or quick movement may spoil the experience
for everyone. Remember - you share the woods with many other
recreationists including hikers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers and
hunters. Most public lands are open to hunting and fishing.
                    Preventing Bear Problems
However, bears are opportunistic and will search for human food supplies when natural foods are not available.
Maintaining a sustainable bear population in New Hampshire depends on minimizing human-bear conflicts. The
majority of conflicts can be avoided. Here are some tips on preventing bear problems.

Camping prevention

• Never intentionally feed bears to attract them.
• Maintain a clean campsite.
• Put food scraps in closed containers, not in the campfire.
• Do not cook or eat in your tent.
• Keep food and cooking gear separate from your sleeping area.
• Keep food in a closed-up vehicle or hang food at least 10 feet off the ground and 5 feet out on a limb that will not
support a bear.

Remember: A fed bear is a dead bear!
When black bears are fed, they quickly learn unbearlike behaviors. Sadly, this may lead to serious, often deadly,
results for the bear. You can prevent this by following the simple guidelines above.
   What to do if Confronted by a Bear
If loud noises, sticks and stones don't scare off the bear, back away slowly. NEVER turn
your back or run away from a bear as this can trigger its hunting instincts.

You can't get away from a black bear by climbing a tree. Instead, lie face down on the
ground with your legs spread and your fingers interlaced behind your head. Your
spread legs will keep the bear from rolling you over and exposing your abdomen, while
your hands and fingers will protect your head and neck.
The largest wild animal in North America, an adult moose averages
1,000 pounds and is 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Cows have light brown
faces and a white patch of fur just beneath their tails, while bulls have a
dark brown or black muzzle. Only bulls have antlers, which can weight
as much as 60 pounds. Moose can range over 5 to 50 square miles,
depending on the season.

 Moose are seen throughout the year, often in swampy or wet areas near
roads, and are active at dusk and at night when it's particularly difficult
to see them.
     Safe Moose Viewing is Essential
Watch from a safe and respectful distance. Moose are bigger and faster than
any person and give little warning before attacking a perceived threat.

Cows are extremely protective of their calves.

Bulls in the rut are unpredictable. No one should ever approach these
animals no matter how tolerant they appear.

Moose are unafraid, not friendly. A moose that decides someone has
crossed into their "personal space" will knock down the offender and kick
and stomp until the threat stops moving.