Tips to happy trails
The rain has mostly fled and the sun is finally showing its face regularly, which means Oregonians are hitting the outdoor trails; but before we get out there, we should all agree on a few trail etiquette guidelines.
"If we all just remember we're all using [the trail] together and if we all go by the same unspoken rules, then we can all get along," said Paul Carlson, local runner and co-founder of the Canby Dahlia Run along with Amy Wood.
Canby's main trail, officially Molalla Forest Road Trail, but unofficially known as "the old logging road" or the "logging trail," runs through the middle of town and is almost completely free of intersections with automobile traffic (save for one at Territorial Road). It stretches from the Willamette River on the north side of town all the way to 13th Street on the south side where the new Timber Park housing development is springing up.
Director of Canby Public Works Jennifer Cline, and the rest of the crew there, put their heads together and came up with some general trail use guidelines.
Be Courteous and friendly
This one might go without saying. Yet, at one time or another, we've all laid on the horn (or worse) in traffic situations. Let's agree to keep that off the trail. Instead, offer a smile, a nod or a "hello" to fellow trail users. It could change someone's day for the better.
Share the pathway
Carlson pointed out that the new houses beside the trail are proof Canby is growing…"whether we like it or not." As Canby's population booms, there could potentially be more foot and bike traffic on the trail than ever before. So don't be a trail hog. Try to stay on the right-hand side. For those walking in large groups, Carlson suggests taking a peek behind you once in a while to make sure you're sharing.
Signal others when passing and pass on left
Nobody wants to be plowed over or startled by a cyclist coming up from behind. So if you're going to pass someone ahead, give them fair warning and keep left. Carlson admitted it might be cheesy, but bicycle bells or horns aren't the worst idea.
"It's just kind of a courteous thing," Carlson said. "It's more for the bikers because they're kind of going faster." But he said runners wanting to pass should signal as well.
Use trash receptacles
As tempting as it may be to dump off that empty water bottle or tissue during a jog, there are cans for that. With so much beauty lining the trail—like the river, trees, Willamette Valley Country Club, old train tracks and more—there's no room for garbage.
Keep pets on a leash
Cline recommends keeping pets on a six-foot leash, as it could prevent runaway dogs, biting occurrences and startled trail users.
"I like that idea because often times people think, well I know my pet and my dog's not going to bite anybody…but the person that's running toward you, they don't know that your dog is nice," Carlson said.
He added, "Growing up I was afraid of dogs, because I got bit when I was a kid by a dog that looked like it was harmless, so I was afraid of dogs for a long time. So if I was out running, I'd be a little skittish of a dog that wasn't on a leash."
Pick up after your pet
What's that smell? It's the dog poop on your new running shoes wafting throughout the room. This is a preventable calamity. As you head out the door with your pet, don't forget the pet waste bags and maybe a pooper scooper.
Stay on the designated path
The entirety of the logging trail is paved. It provides beautiful views of the countryside and of the river, but there is no obvious river access. Cline warns against leaving the paved path. Do so at your own risk.
Often, we hit the trail to forget the hustle of daily life and to escape into our own little world. Many times that involves blasting music through headphones. But that can present safety concerns. Carlson and Wood suggest ditching the headphones, or maybe just using them in one ear so that you'll be aware of what's going on around you.
"We don't want to inflict fear in anybody," Carlson said, "but there are some bad people out there."
Other safety tips include taking self-defense classes, going out in groups, and avoiding the trail at dark.
Report suspicious behavior
Let's face it, not everyone is going to use the trails for their intended purpose. If you see anything suspicious, report it.
"You could consider any behavior outside of typical trail use," Cline said, "or violations of the Canby Park Area Rules."
Always call 911 in emergency situations, but to report non-emergency situations, call the Clackamas County non-emergency line at 503-655-8211.
Adhere to current Canby Park Area Rules
We've covered quite a few guidelines here, but Canby has a whole list of park rules that folks should be aware of. Check them out here.