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On the trail to safety

Now that the weather is nice, you might be tempted to take a hike on the beautiful trails in Southeast Alaska. But before you set off to explore the great outdoors, keep these five safety tips in mind:

  1. Have a plan. And let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. If you’re hiking with a group, decide where you’re going to meet if you get separated. This could be back at the trailhead or at the car.
  2. Dress for success. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the terrain and season. If ticks are running rampant, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and shoes—not sandals. Use insect repellent that includes the ingredient DEET. Bringing the kids along? Be sure to dress them in bright colors so they can be seen.
  3. Educate yourself. If poison oak, sumac or ivy grow where you’ll be hiking, learn how to recognize them so you can avoid them—and the nasty, itchy rashes they can give you.
  4. Pack appropriately. Bring water, food, a cellphone, a map or compass, a whistle, a headlamp, and a flashlight.
  5. Choose wisely. Hike on an established trail, and stay out of areas declared off limits to hikers.

Sources: American College of Emergency Physicians; National Park Service; Recreation.gov

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