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Hike Leader Policies of St. Paul Hiking Club

Approved by the Board of Directors on December 10, 2018.  December 2018 amendments are underlined.
Leading a hike is a very rewarding experience! The club depends on its members to volunteer to lead hikes, and encourages ALL members to do so. Contact the monthly schedulers (see the membership roster) for some good ideas. The club wants to walk your favorite routes! If you wish, find a partner and lead a hike together.
Before scheduling a hike, scout trails and/or drive street routes if unfamiliar to you, checking access, safety, and condition. Determine parking and restroom availability. Estimate mileage, rounding up if over .5 miles. Mileage can usually be determined online with a map service—Google Maps or Mapquest. Plan adequate breaks.
Contact the monthly scheduler to schedule your hike. Send the scheduler your hike description. The hike description should include directions to the starting point, including a postal address and/or a street intersection if available, route information as needful or desired, restroom availability, your phone number, and any plans for food and beverages after the hike.
Spring and fall are especially popular so submit your request early. Hikes must be scheduled .in time to appear in the issue of the Trailblazer for that month.
Before the hike, print a sign-up sheet from the club website (“Hike Sign-In Form” under “Miscellaneous Pages”), or obtain a sign-in sheet from the Mailing Director. Have membership application copies available for guests.
Arrive at the hike at least 20 minutes early in order to welcome new members and guests and answer questions.
Introduce guests. Make sure that guests see the liability release printed on the sign-up sheet. Before starting the hike, have all members and guests sign the sign-in sheet. Make sure that names are written legibly so that mileage credit can be given.
Carry a cell phone (or make sure someone has one) and know how to call for help in case of an emergency.
Sunday hikes are expected to cover 5 miles. Tuesday hikes are expected to cover 3 miles.
Sunday 5-mile hikers have the option of walking 3 miles. Explain that anyone walking 3 miles should put a circle around their number on the sign-up sheet. Make sure that at least one person walking 3 miles knows the way back to the starting point and will not leave others behind.
Start the hike at the scheduled time, but make sure that no additional hikers are in sight.
On the hike, although each member and guest is responsible for their own behavior and safety, it is usually appropriate for all hikers to stay behind the leader. The leader may allow faster walkers to go ahead as long as there is an understanding of when and how they will link up again. When the group is too large to be easily observed, stop when needed to keep the group together, particularly at turns and stoplights. Identify hikers who voluntarily remain at the rear (“sweeps”) to help ensure that no one loses touch with the group.
Adjust your pace to give consideration to other hikers, particularly if obstacles or conditions slow the group.
Use sidewalks or park trails and cross streets at marked crossings whenever possible. When walking on a road make sure that everyone stays on the left, facing traffic. Alert hikers to oncoming traffic (cars, bicycles, pedestrians) and have someone in the rear designated to alert hikers of traffic approaching from behind.
At the completion of the hike, forward the sign-in sheet to the Mileage Director.
As leader, you may reroute, shorten, or cancel a hike because of severe weather or a personal emergency.
If you become unavailable in advance to lead a hike you have scheduled, contact the monthly scheduler for assistance (if necessary) in finding another member to substitute as leader.
Adverse weather: If at all possible, hike leaders are encouraged to show up in case any members do, even if weather will make a hike impossible. Members are encouraged to be aware of likely weather conditions. 
Personal emergency: if a last-minute personal emergency makes it impossible for you to lead a hike, if possible have someone available to answer phone calls at the number published in the schedule and contact the monthly scheduler.
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