Personal Safety and Communication
As a Trail Host, it is extremely important that your personal safety remains a top priority. You are not obligated to place yourself in or remain in a dangerous situation. There are many challenges when interacting with other users, so here are a few measures you can take for a safe day hosting a trail or trailhead.
- Trust your gut. If you have an odd feeling about someone that you are interacting with, remove yourself from the situation as politely as you can.
- Always have your cell phone on your person. Dialing 911 even in remote locations will alert emergency personnel that you need help.
- Tell a family member or friend where you will be hosting and when you plan to return.
- Be aware of the people around you and take note of someone who you feel may be dangerous.
- Report and crime that you encounter.
- Never pick up a hitchhiker or transient.
- Do not stay at a trailhead after darkness falls. Plan your hosting itinerary according to daylight hours.
- Never go with anybody that you don’t know to their cars while interacting with others at the trailhead.
- Stay where people can see you visibly in a parking lot and be aware of moving cars and trailers.
Steps for Difficult Interactions
- Take your time! Introduce yourself as a volunteer and utilize small talk if needed.
- Describe your position and purpose. Once people know that you are a volunteer, they will usually be more open to talking with you and answering any questions.
- Ask if they have any questions about the OHV program, the particular trail, or anything else you may be able to help them with.
- If the person or group seem like they are in a hurry, provide them with appropriate educational material and let them move on.
- If the person or group seems suspicious, step away and take note of it. If possible, sneak a picture of the license plate or machine. This information can help craft a detailed report.
- Keep in mind your own passion for the sport when interacting with people. Relate and be understanding.
Left Turn: Left arm extended straight out from shoulder
Right Turn: Left arm raised at shoulder height, elbow bent, and forearm vertical with palm of hand flat
Stop: Left arm raised from shoulder and extended straight up over head with palm of hand flat
Slowing Down: Left arm extended out and down from the side of body with a downward motion of hand to signal warning or caution
Oncoming OHV (First in Line): Left arm raised at should height. Elbow bent and forearm vertical, wrist bent, mover arm left to right over head while pointing to the right side of the trail.
OHVs Following (First in Line): Signal the number of people in group. Point with your thumb behind you.
Last OHV in Line: Release handlebar with left hand, palm of hand flat, slash forearm outward at a 45-degree downward angle toward the ground repeatedly.