Trail Protocols – A Summer Reminder

Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals the approach of summer, ushering in the busiest season on the trails. With more people, dogs, horses and tourists using the local trails, it’s a good time to remember basic trail courtesies that make for a more enjoyable outdoor experience for everyone.

At the bottom of most trailheads, there are signs that indicate which trail users have priority. Mountain bikers must yield to hikers, and both bikers and hikers must yield to horses. But unless trail users remain alert, priority levels can get mixed up pretty quickly.

The key to safe trail use is to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t just look down at the trail directly under your foot or tire. Admittedly, this is more difficult for bikers and hikers than equestrians. Make an effort to look far ahead on the trail, and keep your eyes and ears open so you know who and what is headed your way.

When encountering equestrians, other trail users should always move to the outside of the trail. Horses always take the “mountain side” in any given situation. The reason is simple: weight. A horse with an adult rider and tack can weigh nearly 1,500 pounds, and that kind of weight is inappropriate for the soft shoulder found on the edge of many narrow trails. On a wider trail, horses still take the inside, which allows for more maneuverability.

Another basic safety factor that is often overlooked is when dogs are allowed on the trails unleashed. Not only can loose dogs frighten hikers and horses, but they are also at greater risk to be hit by a mountain bike, be bitten by a rattlesnake, or expose their owners to poison oak after romping unchecked through the native flora found along the trails.

So for an enjoyable summer on the trails, remember basic trail courtesies, review trail use guidelines, and drink plenty of water. And one last thing: If you pack trash in, please pack it out.

Mark Your Calendar

Sunday, May 27

Sierra Club Hike

Forbush Flat

Advanced, 7 miles round-trip

From East Camino Cielo, hike down to Forbush Flat and then on through Cottam campground and the length of Blue Canyon. A car shuttle completes the loop. Bring lunch and plenty of water. Meet behind Bank of America on upper State Street at Hope Avenue at 9 am.

For more information call Diane at 964-9002.

Friday, June 1

Free Friday Flick

“Counting Sheep: Restoring the

Sierra Nevada Bighorn”

Wildling Art Museum

7:30 pm, free admission

What happens when a protected predator threatens an endangered prey? In California’s Sierra Nevada wilderness, mountain lions pose a threat to the last few native bighorn sheep. A finalist at the 2004 Banff Mountain Film Festival, this 60-minute film relates the story of two mountain men who stand between the sheep and their extinction. Underwritten by a grant from the Valley Foundation, the film will be shown in the Wildling Museum offices at 2948 Nojoqui Street, Suite #4 in Los Olivos. Free popcorn, cookies, wine and soft drinks are provided. Reservations not required, but space is limited and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, call 688-1082, or visit

Saturday, June 2

“An Evening with the Cowboys”

Annual Fundraiser for the

Carriage and Western Art Museum

Pershing Park

129 Castillo Street

This annual event features a full barbeque dinner and top Western entertainment set against the backdrop of the museum’s false front western town. Performers include award-winning cowboy singer Dave Stamey, as well as cowboy poet and storyteller Gary Robertson. Among the cowboy artists who will be displaying their work is Joe Milazzo, who is also donating a framed western print, and Jim Stuckenberg, nationally known for his bronze sculptures. Guests will have access to the museum’s galleries, with its extensive collection of wagons, saddles and other tack, as well as Fiesta memorabilia from yesteryear. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $45, and include dinner, beer and wine. The museum doors open at 5 pm, dinner is served from 5:30 pm to 7 pm, followed by the entertainment. Open table seating.

For more information call Tom Peterson at 737-1619 or Peter Giorgi at 569-0731.

Sunday, June 3

Condor Field Trip

8 am to 5 pm

Santa Barbara Natural History Museum naturalist Jan Hamber will lead participants on a trip to the Hopper National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County to view condors in the wild. Experts have described the refuge as the best place to view condors locally. Cost for museum members is $20/adults, $10/children. Non-member cost is $25/adults and $15/children.

For reservations, e-mail or call 682-4711, ext. 170.

Wednesday, June 6

Front Country Trails

Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force

5:30 pm, City Council Chambers

735 Anacapa Street

The public is invited to attend this meeting of designated County Parks commissioners, City Parks and Recreation commissioners, and representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, and to speak during the public comment period. Elected representatives of the Sierra Club will be making a presentation regarding their national policy on multiple-use trails, and how that policy applies to trails in the Santa Barbara front country.

For more information visit