Friends of the Little Miami State Park recently initiated a trail sentinel program, enlisting volunteers to monitor trail safety conditions and provide selective assistance to trail users. This program, the brainchild of Don Hahn (thanks, Don!), now includes 10 sentinels—that’s 20 eyes, 20 ears, 10 voices and 20 hands—devoted to trail safety, a significant commitment. And yet, there’s no way that these 10 sentries can completely cover over 50 miles of trail 7 days-a-week. That’s where you come in.
Currently, Trail Mail reaches 2,300 readers—that’s 4,600 eyes, 4,600 ears, 2,300 voices and 4,600 hands. Here’s how you and the other 2,299 readers of Trail Mail can assist the Friends to keep the trail safe:
1. Take the time to clear the trail of large sticks. Before bending down to pick up a stick, scan the trail for fast approaching cyclists. Toss sticks well clear of the trail.
2. Report downed trees and other hazards by calling or texting the Trail Hotline at (513) 212-6958. Include a description, location (milepost number) and a picture (if appropriate). Add the hotline to your mobile phone contacts list now.
3. Model safe behavior including calling out “on your left” when passing, coming to a complete stop at intersections and slowing down in congested portions of the trail.
4. Speak up to address unsafe behavior to the extent you feel comfortable. I recently approached a woman walking a dog off leash. After I had to nearly stop my bike to pass, I said “ma’am, trail regulations require that dogs be on leashes no more than six feet long.” I have taken to calling out “on your right” to remind passing cyclists who don’t announce their presence of that need. In any case, be courteous and respectful, since safety and not confrontation is the objective.
by Erick Wikum