Hiker Awareness, Safety, and Trail Education
The HASTE program uses ALDHA’s experience, passion, and expertise to develop and present educational programs, workshops, and information to dreamers, day hikers, section hikers, thru-hikers, and friends of the trail. Programs are to be presented to both community groups, youth organizations, and hikers at trail events.
One of the first actions of the new ALDHA Board in October 2019 was to establish the Hiker Awareness, Safety, and Trail Education (HASTE) Program. HASTE is ALDHA's primary education program, drawing its authority from both our Statement of Purpose and residual Preventative Search And Rescue (PSAR) tenants. The need for hiker education cannot be over emphasized. It is a way for ALDHA to connect with both hikers, hiking communities, and dreamers. Most spend weeks or months pouring over trail information before starting. There are many sources of information... some very good and some not. Frequently, a broader perspective and an in-person hands on process is needed. ALDHA as the premier long distance hiking organization in the United States, has the experience and desire to provide workshops and programs on all elements of long distance hiking and trails of the region.
Hiker Awareness: Many potential hikers do not recognize issues they will face attempting a long distance adventure. Hygiene is often taken for granted before starting. What should you do when you encounter bears, snakes, moose, ticks, and other wild creatures? How should you store your food... and why? Additionally the physical strain and injuries resulting from long distance hiking are often overlooked.
Safety: All elements of the program overlap with safety. Special consideration needs to be given to personal safety, how to keep from getting lost, and environmental dangers such as hypothermia, dehydration, and heat related illness. The tragic loss of Ronald "Stronghold" Sanchez, and injuries to other hikers in 2019 reinforced the need to increase safety awareness.
Trail Education: Our trail education draws on first hand experience augmented with updates from the ATC and other trail centric organizations. Topics include: What ALDHA does behind the Scenes; The permitting process, regulations, and preserving Baxter State Park and it's crown jewel, Mt. Katahdin; Hiker etiquette and what is expected of you when you visit trail communities; Stream Crossing; Forest Fires on the Trail; and general information on the Appalachian Trail and other trails in the Region.
Under the leadership of Penny Vann (HASTE Coordinator and Board Member), we have been developing workshops for trail festivals and community programs, we have prepared educational pamphlets for both hikers and dreamers, and we are developing cadres of instructors. If you have an interest in the HASTE Program either as a workshop developer or as a presenter, please contact Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an excellent way to give back to the trail, pass along trail culture, and expand our membership.