Lt. James Goss, NHFG, 603-744-5470 or 271-3127
Marianne Leberman,WMNF, 603-536-6100
January 13, 2012
Enjoy the Winter Outdoors, but “hikeSafe”
CONCORD, N.H. -- With snow and ice finally arriving in New Hampshire and a holiday weekend ahead, outdoor authorities are advising the Granite State’s backcountry visitors to “hikeSafe.”
“New Hampshire is a great place for winter recreation, whether you're hiking, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing or ice-climbing," said New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Lieutenant James Goss. “But the winter environment can be a dangerous place. Cold temperatures, deep snow cover and fierce winds -- especially above treeline -- mean that hikers and others need to take special precautions.”
Recent incidents have included the death of a hiker who fell 800 feet while descending Mount Washington after dark, and several skiers who had to be rescued by Forest Service Snow Rangers after triggering avalanches in unstable snow on the mountain.
To help stay safe, winter outdoor enthusiasts should visit www.hikesafe.com and review the principles of “hikeSafe,” a joint initiative of N.H. Fish and Game and the White Mountain National Forest to promote safe and responsible hiking.
There are six basic tenets of the code. You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:
1) With the appropriate knowledge and gear;
2) Leave your plans with someone else;
3) Hiking groups should stick together, and not let themselves become separated;
4) Hikers should always be ready to turn back if circumstances, such as changing weather, dictate;
5) Hikers should be ready for emergencies, and, ideally, be set to effect “self rescue”; and
6) Those who know the code should share its lessons with others.
Goss notes that the Hiker Responsibility Code applies year-round, but there are special considerations for winter hiking. “Winter weather can be extreme, especially on the highest summits of the White Mountains, so anyone venturing to those areas absolutely must be prepared for bitter cold, strong winds and poor visibility – and must be ready to turn back if conditions become too difficult."
All backcountry visitors should be aware of avalanches and the special training and equipment needed for anyone who is traveling in potential avalanche terrain. For safety alerts and more information on the White Mountain National Forest, visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain.
The New Hampshire Outdoor Council is a major supporter of hikeSafe and search and rescue efforts throughout the state.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works to conserve the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.wildnh.com.
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