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An Introduction to the Hiker Responsibility Code

David Baucom, a former Rear Admiral, upper half (RADM) in the United States Navy, is an avid outdoorsman. David F. Baucom retired in 2016 following nearly 35 years of service, and has since remained physically active by hiking and gardening.

One of the best ways to ensure safety while hiking is to adhere to the Hiker Responsibility Code. The code appeals to hikers to take responsibility for themselves and to respect the safety of others while on the trail. First and foremost, individuals are encouraged to learn as much as they can about basic hiking practices as well as specific information regarding an upcoming hike, such as weather forecasts and any unusual terrain on the route.

The Hiker Responsibility Code also advises hikers leave their hiking plans with someone who is not taking part in the trip. In addition to the hike's location, plans should include the time of departure and the expected time of return. Other important elements of the code including hiking as part of a group and staying together, knowing one’s personal limitations and turning back when those limits have been reached, and packing with both traditional hiking gear and emergency supplies. Lastly, individuals are asked to share the hiker code with others. More information on safe hiking can be found at www.hikesafe.com.

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