Lt. Todd Bogardus: (603) 744-5470
Rebecca Oreskes: (603) 466-2713
October 6, 2005

hikesafeHave Fun on the Trails, and hikeSafe

CONCORD, N.H. -- It's a great time for a hike in New Hampshire -- crisp air, colorful foliage, and a good chance of catching a glimpse of wildlife as they prepare for winter. Though it's only October, hikers may experience winter conditions in the mountains -- high winds and snow -- even when it is warm and sunny in the valley. Nighttime temperatures are already below freezing at some altitudes. "The weather is extremely unpredictable this time of year, so we encourage people to be prepared with the right knowledge and gear to have a fun time, safely," says Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game, co-coordinator of the hikeSafe initiative.

"The days are getting shorter, and it's getting dark earlier in the day," reminds Bogardus. "So take your flashlight along, even if you're not planning to be out late." A flashlight is one of hikeSafe's "Ten Essential Items" to carry on every trip:

1. Map
2. Compass (Know how to use your map and compass before you go!)
3. Warm clothing, including hat and mittens
4. Extra food and water
5. Flashlight or headlamp
6. Matches/firestarters
7. First aid kit
8. Whistle
9. Rain/wind gear
10. Pocket knife

For more gear lists, visit and click on "planning your hike."

With some hunting seasons underway, hikers can take the extra precaution of wearing an item of hunter orange clothing to ensure visibility. And watch your step -- wet leaves are extremely slick.

The hikeSafe educational initiative is a result of a partnership between New Hampshire Fish and Game and White Mountain National Forest. It was designed to help reduce the numbers of search and rescue incidents and emergencies by educating outdoor users on proper preparation when recreating and hiking in New Hampshire. Bogardus says that the most frequent reason for a search-and-rescue effort in New Hampshire is when someone's lack of preparation causes them to become lost, delayed or injured. So, the hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code was developed as a safety primer, reminder, and personal "pact" for hikers to review as they get ready to hike.

Hiker Responsibility Code
You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:

  • With knowledge and gear. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.
  • To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you'll return and your emergency plans.
  • To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
  • To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.
  • For emergencies, even if you are headed out for just an hour. An injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don't assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.
  • To share the hiker code with others.

hikeSafe -- There and Back -- It's Your Responsibility!

For more information about hikeSafe, visit, or contact Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game, (603) 744-5470 or; or Rebecca Oreskes of the White Mountain National Forest, (603) 466-2713 x212 or

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

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