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Be Prepared, Aware, and Responsible When Exploring This Fall and Winter

CONTACT: Colonel Kevin Jordan: (603) 271-3128 Lieutenant James Kneeland: (603) 744-5470 October 21, 2021

Concord, NH – As the temperatures cool and the foliage season gives way to fresh snows throughout the Granite State, residents and visitors need to practice personal safety, responsibility, and respect for other outdoor enthusiasts. All outdoor recreation, even the shortest hike, requires year-round awareness, preparation, and self-reliance. Venturing into the woods or onto an unfamiliar trail connects people with nature in a simple and inspirational way, but you need to be prepared as with any outdoor activity. Never rely on GPS mapping or app technology to guide you in remote mountain or woodlands; those who practice self-reliance carry maps, a compass, and the knowledge to use both tools. Never rely on anything with a battery except a flashlight.

“People hiking now must be aware of their physical limitations, rapidly changing conditions, and the unreliable cellular service in many of the Granite State’s most natural and scenic locations,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Colonel Kevin Jordan. “Unpredictable weather, extreme temperature fluctuations, significantly reduced hours of daylight, and no electricity or wireless access mean that people must be prepared with flashlights, layers of clothing that will keep them warm and dry, and accurate maps and directions. All hikers, regardless of experience, must know when to turn back. This is not the time of the year for dangerous backcountry adventures in rapidly changing weather conditions. It is imperative that people enjoying New Hampshire’s natural resources exercise a high degree of caution. Unsafe and irresponsible behavior puts first responders and volunteers at increased risk of injury.”

Colonel Jordan also strongly recommends as always that hikers be prepared and carry with them the top 10 essentials for New Hampshire’s changeable weather conditions and for unanticipated emergencies:

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Warm Clothing:
    • Sweater or Fleece Jacket
    • Long Pants (wool or synthetic)
    • Hat (wool)
  • Extra Food and Water
  • Flashlight or Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Matches/Firestarters
  • First Aid Kit/Repair Kit
  • Whistle
  • Rain/Wind Jacket and Pants
  • Pocket Knife

Read more about safe hiking at www.wildnh.com/outdoor-recreation/hiking-safety.html.

Outdoor enthusiasts are also encouraged to purchase their voluntary annual Hike Safe card. Card sales help defray the costs of training and rescue equipment for NH Fish and Game Law Enforcement Conservation Officers, preparing them to come to your aid if the unexpected happens.

2022 Hike Safe cards will be available for purchase November 15 and cost $25 for an individual, or $35 for a family. The price is the same for both residents and nonresidents. They are good for the calendar year January 1–December 31, 2022. Cards purchased before November 15 are valid through December 31, 2021 only.

Cards can be purchased online at www.wildnh.com/safe and at New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Headquarters at 11 Hazen Drive in Concord.

Purchasing a hunting or fishing license also provides you with the same protection as a Hike Safe card. In addition to Hike Safe card revenues, Fish and Game’s Search and Rescue Fund is supported by a $1 fee collected for each boat, snowmobile, and OHRV registered in New Hampshire.

Blaze orange is a common-sense safety precaution for hunters–and hikers! To watch a video that demonstrates the immediate effectiveness of blaze orange, visit https://player.vimeo.com/video/47113670.

It’s your responsibility to hike safe. Be sure to follow the hiker responsibility code by being knowledgeable about where you are going and what the local weather and terrain conditions will be, leaving your plans with someone, turning back in inclement weather or if you are running out of daylight, and planning for emergencies. Visit www.hikesafe.com for more information.