New Hampshire Outdoor Council

Outdoor News

WINTER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ABOUND IN N.H.; SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT

February 17, 2011

CONCORD, N.H. -- With the constantly changing winter conditions and various school vacations underway, the N.H. Fish and Game Department, the White Mountain National Forest and the NH Outdoor Council are recommending all outdoor recreationists practice hikeSafe principles during their outdoor pursuits.

The incredible snow cover that Mother Nature has provided in New Hampshire this winter means many backcountry opportunities are available for people to enjoy, including snowshoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, winter camping and snowmobiling.

When people are venturing into the backcountry and mountain regions, Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game urges them to follow the hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code to help make their adventure a safe one. With the current deep snow cover and winter conditions, visitors to the backcountry need to be mindful of the need to carry extra gear and additional food for the increased exertion of their activities. It's also important to allow additional time to complete your trip. People also need to be keenly aware that weather conditions can change dramatically at any time. Hypothermia -- an inability to keep your body warm -- is a real risk factor when enjoying outdoor pursuits during the winter months. Above-treeline travel calls for special precautions; with the presence of fierce winds, extreme wind chills, and potentially deadly conditions, people need to be prepared with extra gear and knowledge.

Lt. Bogardus reminds everyone that, "Wherever people go in the outdoors, they need to be prepared to turn back! The woods and mountains will be there another day. A poor decision in the mountains doesn't just put you at risk -- it potentially risks the lives of rescuers who come out to help you."

Rebecca Oreskes of the White Mountain National Forest also wants to make people aware of the additional hazards this deep snow pack is presenting in backcountry areas with potential avalanche danger. "Proper knowledge and safety precautions are essential when venturing into avalanche-prone areas. Hikers and skiers should carry an avalanche beacon, avalanche probes and shovels -- and they should always evaluate the terrain before venturing into it," said Oreskes. For current avalanche warnings on Mt. Washington, information on avalanche terrain navigation and warning notices, visit the Mount Washington Avalanche Center at website at mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.

Visit hikesafe.com to become familiar with the safety principles of the Hiker Responsibility Code, and enjoy your winter adventures by practicing proper planning, good decision-making and safe behavior.