Whether walking, biking, running, birdwatching, or walking the dog, we all use trails – and now more than ever. National reports have indicated a 100 to 200 percent increase in trail use over the last few years while we have navigated the challenges of the Covid pandemic.

This is exciting news for trails: Interest and awareness is increasing, and trails are being used more, and by more people. However, this can lead to crowding, especially at popular trailheads and parks. And, crowds can have greater impacts such as increased littering and the need for additional maintenance.

The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a multipurpose trail, open to bicyclists, walkers, joggers, hikers, skaters, and horseback riders in some locations. The trail is a community resource, built and managed by the community, for the community. And it takes a community of trail users to maintain a safe and inclusive experience for all.

Be Courteous:
• Bike, walk, or jog in single file or take up no more than half the trail.
• Step off the trail when taking a break.
• Move at a safe and controlled speed.
• Be mindful of space and noise level.

Communicate:
• Signal to others with an audible warning before passing.
• Don’t tune out, always be alert and able to hear other trail users.
• Greet fellow users with a smile, nod, wave or a friendly hello.

Be a Good Steward:
• Leave no trace – dispose of all waste properly.
• Do not disturb wildlife and their habitats.
• Respect all trail infrastructure and natural and cultural resources.
• Leave what you find for others to enjoy.
• Keep pets on a leash and under control at all times, especially when other trail users are close or passing by.

Right of way:
As a guideline for multi-use trails where you might encounter hikers, equestrians and bikers-

• Hikers should yield to horses when possible. If the conditions permit, step to the downhill side of the trail. Also, communicate with the rider and try not to make sudden movement that might scare the horse.
• Bikers should yield to both hikers and equestrians. Move to the side of the trail and consider dismounting from the bike to avoid startling the horse.
• As the largest trail user, equestrians and their horses can be intimidating for other trail users to encounter. Use clear communication to other trail users to ensure they won’t be in the way when passing.

LHT Walkers

To learn more about the Golden Rules of trail use, visit Rails to Trails.

For additional information on sharing the trail with horses, please consider this article.

These guidelines are common practices that allow us all to share and enjoy the trail. As we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, please follow public health guidance.
Best practices include:
• Limit group size when possible.
• Maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet.
• Consider face coverings as a voluntary public-health measure to avoid spreading the virus to others, especially in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
• Stay at home if you are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
LHT Photo by Ruth Markoe

photo by Ruth Markoe

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