* Be prepared, consider what you need to do to protect yourself and to protect the Adirondack Park.
* Plan ahead. Let friends of relatives know where you are going, when you plan to return and what to do if you do not return on time.
* Avoid traveling alone.
* Dress in layers to protect yourself from the wind, rain and cold. Wear clothing made of synthetic fibers or wool and do not wear cotton in cold or rainy weather.
* Carry a lightweight, waterproof tarp for use as an emergency shelter. A storm proof tent is necessary for overnight trips.
* Carry lightweight foods and cooking gear. Use trail food such as nuts, dried fruit, candy, and jerky for nibbling. Carry extra food and water.
* Carry a portable stove. Stoves heat more quickly and useful in wet weather.
* Stop to make camp well before dark or at the first evidence of bad weather.
* Do not take unnecessary chances. Abandon the trip if anyone becomes ill or if bad weather sets in.
* If you think that you are lost, stay calm. Stop and try to determine your location. Do not continue traveling until you know where you are. Use your head, not your legs!
* Three of anything (shouts, whistles, fires, flashes of light, etc.) is a standard distress signal. Use these only in an emergency situation.
* In a backcountry emergency contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Dispatch at (518) 891-0235
When traveling in the backcountry, be sure to take these essential items along:
* Sturdy boots, fleece layers and rain/wind gear (even on a sunny day!)
* In winter include snowshoes, hat and gloves or mittens
* Map and compass
* Flashlight and/or headlamp
* Water bottle and a means of purifying your water
* Extra food
* Pocket knife or multi-purpose tool
* Bivy sack or sleeping bags
* Matches and/or lighter and a fire starter
* First aid kit and insect repellent during bug season
* Whistle – three blasts is a distress signal
* Pencil and paper – to write notes in an emergency
This essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy.
A version of this post was first published in 2011.