Cameron Smyth: Summer trail safety

Cameron Smyth
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Temperatures are on the rise in Southern California, bringing perfect days to get outdoors for trips to the beach, parks and trails! The city of Santa Clarita is lucky to be home to a wide variety of trails and paseos with varying levels of difficulty, accommodating both beginners and more experienced hikers.

Whether your trail interest is for physical health, a mental break, bonding time with family or enjoying a stroll with your dog, there is a route option available to you in our community. With this in mind, start preparing for your next trail adventure, but as you do, make sure safety for yourself and others is the No. 1 priority.

Our community has worked very hard to slow the rate of infection of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and we do not want those efforts to be in vain. Please practice social distancing when encountering others outside of your immediate family on trails. Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, and when that is not possible, please consider using a face covering. Face coverings are not a requirement for city of Santa Clarita trail and paseo use, but they are beneficial when close to others. When hiking, walking or biking, try treating our trails as two-lane roads, with each lane heading in the opposite direction. This is an easy way for us to look out for one another, to practice social distancing and to utilize face coverings when necessary.

Encountering wildlife

With our weather heating up also comes the promise of our wildlife friends making appearances on our trails. When visiting a trail, remember that you are a guest in their home. Many hikers have encountered lizards, birds, rabbits, squirrels and snakes.

Some have cited occasional encounters with coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions, as well. When sharing the trail with wildlife friends, it is important to stay calm and to keep your distance. If you encounter a larger mammal, make some noise and make yourself appear bigger.

Also, remember that it is prohibited in our open spaces to hunt, harm, kill or harass any wildlife. Many of our wildlife friends, such as snakes, play an essential role in the natural ecosystem and are protected by law, so residents are asked to stay alert on trails and to keep their distance as much as possible.

The hot weather also means dehydration while hiking is a real danger. Make sure to pack enough water for your intended adventure. Sunblock will also help protect you from the elements. If your four-legged friend is going to accompany you on your hike, make sure to keep them on a leash the entire time, and clean up after them.

I encourage you to take advantage of the beautiful weather and our wonderful trails and paseos.

Lastly, I am proud of our community’s commitment to health and safety guidelines that have allowed us to keep our trails open through the duration of the pandemic. Let’s keep working together and supporting one another throughout the summer, and beyond, as we continue to find our way back to normalcy!

For more information on our city’s extensive trail system, please visit HikeSantaClarita.com.

Mayor Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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