Trail Publication Information
Emphasize the importance of users filing a float plan; offer a downloadable form on your supporting trail website.
Spell out in detail the necessity of paddlers staying hydrated, and wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, proper footwear, and hats. Make sure visitors from other areas are aware of the ill effects of sun exposure and dehydration. Advise them to carry a gallon of drinking water per day, per person.
Include equipment check lists of appropriate clothing and safety gear, first aid and camping supplies for extended trips on your publications and websites.
Include local emergency phone contacts and regional medical facilities in guide publications and trailhead kiosks.
Cell phone coverage for emergencies may not be an issue in an urban area but the public should not be encouraged to count on a cell phone for emergency help in lieu of careful preparation and making contingency plans. Stress to trail users that cell phone coverage cannot be counted on in wilderness areas. Identify any points along the route where one can receive help in an emergency, including populated areas with year-round residents and landline phones. This can be included as a "telephone" icon on any publications.
Inform users how to identify and avoid poisonous plants and animals. Be sure that paddlers are aware of: poison ivy, prickly pear cactus, sandspurs, ticks, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, biting flies, venomous snakes, stingrays, and alligators.
Be sure to stress in paddling guides and maps the importance of paying attention to tidal changes, water currents, and weather conditions. Provide links to tide tables, water level gauges and weather websites.
To increase user's comfort and safety, promote the best months to use the trail, and when to avoid it. Be sure to stress the importance of tracking storms during hurricane season, and the necessity of carrying a weather radio and extra batteries to monitor weather conditions. Warn users to avoid paddling during thunderstorms and lightening and take shelter before getting caught in bad weather.
Identify safe areas for public parking, especially if your trail offers overnight trips. When possible choose areas with nearby residences, security lighting, or good visibility from the road. Check with local law enforcement to ascertain any problems at remote parking sites. Are there local outfitters that offer shuttling and/or safe parking? Provide this information or web links in your publication.
Ensure that paddlers can easily see access points from both the water and road during the day and night (use reflective signs).