Be Good in the Backcountry
Keeping Telluride and Mountain Village’s backyard beautiful and pristine requires visitors, as well as residents, to engage in good behavior in the outdoors. Thankfully, the Telluride Mountain Club has drafted Trails Etiquette 101, common-sense tips designed to keep the area’s trails network, as well as the surrounding natural environment happy and healthy, and outdoor enthusiasts safe and well. Here’s how to be good in the backcountry:
Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in. Dispose of trash and waste properly (that goes for pet waste too). Remember that toilet paper is also trash.
Share the trail. Slow down, communicate and be courteous to other trail users.
Yield to others and if in doubt follow this simple rule: hikers yield to bikers and bikers yield to horses. Let fellow trail users know you are coming. Strive to make each pass safe and courteous.
Stay on the trail. Respect the surrounding environment and landscape. Keep singletrack single and avoid taking off-trail shortcuts at switchbacks or otherwise leaving the trail.
Be a good trail steward. Only use open, legal trails. Read and obey any signage. Walk or take public transportation to the trail head and if you must drive, park responsibly. Encourage your friends and family to be good stewards too.
Be prepared. Plan ahead and be self-sufficient. Check the weather forecast and start early, especially during monsoon season in the San Juan Mountains, when afternoons bring rain that may be heavy and accompanied by lightning. Pack water, food and layers. Consult a map or hiking guide for unfamiliar routes. Have a Plan B. And if you enjoy regular forays into the backcountry, purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card (available online at dola.colorado.gov/sar/cardPurchase.jsf), which reimburses local search and rescue groups for their services.
Avoid geotagging. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification data, such as precise GPS coordinates, to social media posts. And while it sounds innocent enough, geotagging from pristine wild places can harm that place thanks to an uptick in visitors that in turn leads to environmental degradation. One local advocate referred to geotagging as a scourge, pointing out that it is far more special to find a unique, off-the-beaten-path spot through effort, instead of just clicking. The bottom line: when in doubt, leave the tag out.
For more from the Telluride Mountain Club on trails etiquette, go to telluridemountainclub.org/trails-etiquette-101.