by Don Corrigan
Planning logistics for a biking excursion or a hiking adventure, and addressing safety concerns, are a big part of having a satisfactory experience. Another major piece of making things go well involves “trail etiquette.”
The Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) organization offers a number of etiquette tips for using its network of trails in the greater St. Louis area, but they are universal and can apply to many trails statewide and nationally.
Among the GRG advisories:
•Keep pets leashed and close, pick up and throw away all pet waste.
•Whether you’re walking, running, biking, pushing a stroller, using a wheelchair or anything else, yield to those moving at a slower speed than you.
•Travel on the right, pass on the left, announce yourself and communicate a passing.
•Follow all local laws and please report suspicious activities or hazardous conditions to Great Rivers Greenway.
•Please leave nature as it is. The plants and animals that live along trails rely on one another and natural food sources to survive.
•Do not touch or feed any wildlife. It can be tempting, for example, to feed the Clydesdales on the trail in the vicinity of Grant’s Trail. Do not do it.
•Put trash and recyclables in the appropriate cans or pack it out with you.
Now that spring has arrived, the greenways trails are once again proving to be a popular place to get moving and experience nature.
Great Rivers Greenway’s electronic trail counters have shown a 72% increase in greenway use from 2019 to 2020.
The growth in numbers of hikers and bikers is continuing into 2021. With more people than ever using them, it is more important than ever to keep trail etiquette in mind.
“We also want to remind people there are 128 miles out there to explore and enjoy,” said Anne Milford, a spokesperson at the St. Louis headquarters of Great Rivers Greenway.
“We would love to let more people know about the search feature on our website that will help them find the kind of greenway experience they are looking for: sunny, flat, hilly etc. They can even search for hidden gems that have less traffic,” she said
Great Rivers Greenway has developed a whole campaign around this (https://greatriversgreenway.org/know-before-you-go/) which allows trail users to tailor the kind of trail experience that they want from an outdoors adventure.