In Albert County, we are lucky to have access to so many beautiful hiking trails. From the Riverfront Trail along the shores of the mighty Petitcodiac in Riverview, to the expansive trail network cutting through the Acadian Forest in Fundy National Park, there is truly something for every trail user, regardless of their experience or fitness level.
Who Has the Right of Way?
Not only do we have beautiful trails in Albert County, but many of them are multi-use. That means they can be enjoyed by all types of trail users; from hikers to bikers and sometimes even horses. While this opens up opportunities for a greater number of people to get outside and connect with nature, it can sometimes cause confusion, leading to frustration or, in certain cases, safety concerns.
A generally accepted order for right of way on trails is horses, hikers, and then bikers. In other words, hikers should always yield to horses, and bikers should always yield to both hikers and horses.
Be Aware of What (and Who) is Around You
This ties into the right of way, but takes it a step further. In order to exercise proper right of way, it’s important to be aware of what’s around you. If you are on a single-track trail, stay on the right side of the trail while passing traffic coming from the other direction. If you are passing traffic on a hill, the trail user moving downhill should step aside to let the uphill traveller continue. You should also move to the side to let faster hikers, bikers and others pass you.
It is especially important to be aware of what’s around you when hiking in groups. If you notice there are other trail users on your heels, let the rest of your group know so they can pass - it is no fun to feel stuck behind a large group on a trail. If you stop for water or to enjoy the view, make sure you don’t take up the entire trail and create a roadblock.
Disconnect to Connect
A Saturday hike is not the time or place to call a friend to catch up or to listen to your favourite songs on your phone’s speaker. Most people you meet on the trail are likely getting out in nature to enjoy some peace and solitude, and they won’t appreciate tunes blasting from your phone.
Chances are, you’ll have a more fulfilling experience yourself if you disconnect and leave your phone at home. If you need your phone to take photos, that’s okay, just try to stay off social media while you’re out there. You’ll have a much better chance of finding a meaningful connection with nature if you do.
Trail Etiquette with Dogs
Bringing our dogs out on the trail with us is a fantastic way to keep them exercised, happy and healthy, but there are a few trail etiquette guidelines that apply specifically to our furry friends.
It is your responsibility to find out if the trail you are using requires dogs to be leashed. Even on trails where you aren’t required to leash your dog, it is worth considering keeping them on leash unless you are sure they will heel on request and refrain from barking. This is as much for your dog’s safety as it is for the comfort of other trail users.
The right of way rules of the trail change slightly when you have your dog with you. You should be prepared to yield to all other trail users, and always, always, always ask permission from other dog owners on the trail before you allow your dog to greet another dog. Not all dogs are social and like strange dogs running up to them. Being proactive about this can help avoid a sticky situation and keep all trail users (and their dogs!) happy.
And Finally; Be a Nice Human!
This one is perhaps the simplest of them all; be a nice human. A smile, some eye contact, and a simple “Hi” go a long way!
For more information on Trails, see Exploring Our Trails.