safety and rules
When enjoying the outdoors, it is important to remember safety regulations and recommendations to ensure the well-being of yourself and those around you. No matter if you’re in the water or on dry land, please review and keep the following suggestions top of mind.
-Avoid using trails that are muddy, so you don't leave uneven bicycle ruts, deep footprints or hoof tracks. If you must traverse a muddy trail, go right through the center of the trail (even if it is muddy), rather than traveling around the mud and widening the trail.
-Stay on the trail, and respect trail conditions and trail closures.
-Say hello to other trail users and communicate. Trails are a great place to meet new people!
-Leave no trace - pack it in; pack it out. If you see litter, please pick it up.
-If you love Michigan's trails, get involved and join your local trail organization!
-If you encounter a muddy trail, travel through the center of the trail so inadvertent trail widening doesn't occur.
-Communicate with other trail users about the safest way to pass on the trail.
-Keep at least a horse length back from other trail users.
-Clean up after your horse in staging areas and campgrounds.
-Although avoiding muddy trails altogether is best, if you do come across wet trail conditions, dismount and tiptoe down the center, not to the sides because it widens the trail.
-Before passing, alert other trail users of your intentions.
-Maintain a safe speed, especially near other trail users.
-Cyclists are expected to yield to all other trail users.
-Cyclists moving quickly and quietly can scare horses. Speak and communicate when encountering a horseback rider on the trail. The horseback rider will tell you the safest way to pass.
Hikers and Runners
-If you must traverse a muddy section of trail, go right through the center of the trail, rather than traveling around the mud and widening the trail.
-Keep pets on a 6-foot leash and keep them close.
-When hiking in a group, please walk single-file and be aware of other passing trail users.
-If you're about to pass another trail user, a simple "hello" is often the best way to announce your presence.
Don't block the trail and stay alert to other trail users, especially cyclists.
-Yield to horseback riders, and be sure to speak to the rider and ask the best way to pass their horse.
-At the trailhead, check to see whether the trail is one-way or two-way.
-If snowshoeing on a groomed trail, be sure to travel on the side – not on the track, as that ruins the trail for skiers.
On the water safety
Wear A Life Jacket
-Accidents happen, be prepared. Life jackets float, you don't. Drowning was reported as the cause of death in 75% of all fatalities. 86% of people who drowned in a recreational boating accident were not wearing a life jacket.
-Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 16%* of deaths. Alcohol can impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can also increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.
Check Your Boat Before Going Out On The Water
-Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working condition. In addition to legally required equipment such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor.
-Make sure navigation lights work properly. Ensure the cabin of your vessel has appropriate ventilation to prevent carbon dioxide poisoning
Have A Float Plan
-Inform someone who is not boating with you about the details of your trip, including:
--Where you will be boating and the route you plan to travel.
--How long you will be gone.
--When you plan to return.
--Schedule check-in times.
--Phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don't return on time.
-Watch for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and when visibility is restricted.
-Be aware of commercial fishing nets and buoys. Orange flagging may indicate a net is located in the water. Nets can also break away and float at the surface of the water, causing entanglements with boats.
Carry A Cell Phone Or Marine Radio
-Be prepared to call for help if:
--You are involved in or witness an accident.
--Your boat or the boat of another becomes disabled.
--You need medical assistance.
All safety tips were provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.