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T R A I L S I D E Pages

Mike Trygstad, the founder of this group, wrote this FAQ. I agree with EVERYTHING he wrote - Chuck

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Trailside Outdoors Group:

Who can participate?
We invite and welcome anybody interested in our activities. Participants are invited to dedicate enough time to transform their outdoor experiences and make a difference in the organization.
Of course you are encouraged to invite friends, family, co-workers and others who you feel would benefit from participating in our activities.
All are welcome--regardless of age, race, hiking abilities, ethnicity, economic status, orientation, or any other factor. ALL MEANS ALL!
We do, however, advise that all youth (-18) be accompanied by a responsible adult when/if possible.

Benefits of these Activities:
There are several benefits to becoming a participant of our group--
1 - there is a open opportunity to invite friends, co-workers, neighbors and family to something relatively low-cost and unique;
2 - incredible beauty and nature's vastness await you;
3 - inexpensive, and participants pitch in to help, if need be;
4 - currently no requirement to pay membership fees or annual dues;
5 - there is a tremendous emphasis on safety and being accountable to others in the group;
6 - there is always plenty to eat/share on all of our adventurous outings;
7 - memorable and meaningful activities and great camaraderie;
8 - fun retreats and overnight events throughout the year;
9 - an excellent exercise regimen! We'll help you burn those calories!
10 - we are a 'covenant' community - which means we look out for each other;
11 - being environmentally aware and responsible-practicing Leave No Trace ethics.

Can I lead a hike sometime(s)?
Yes! Just let us know ahead of time. You will be responsible for conducting a meeting location, forming carpools, researching a place to hike, and promoting safety for/within the group you are leading.
You must have your required gear/essentials and layout of the day. People will want to know many things and ask several questions.
Be prepared!
If you are leading a snowshoe event, be sure you investigate thoroughly. Make sure you know the road conditions (open/closed?), the avalanche risks, and get a report on the weather for any possible adverse conditions.
You will more than likely be required to carry traction devices, so do yourself a favor and carry chains as a habit to get you up the hills if the need arises!
You, other drivers, and your carpool will be very thankful :)

What process do I take to participate on a hike/event?
It's easy! All you have to do is RSVP! For retreats or other large events, signing up, registration and/or making a commitment is a definate possibility. Of course, you will be notified ahead of time regarding those which require registration.

What are the rules for participating?
We simply ask that you are prepared for each event you wish to participate in.
This includes all necessary gear, essentials and safety items. Prior to each event, a notice is sent out to remind people of these issues.
Safety is very important!
We strive to keep everyone as safe as possible, by being proactive and becoming educated in learning traditional/special safety and survival techniques as well as advising participants of possible risks involved. We must also follow the rules, regulations and advice from all authorities such as forest service organizations/personnel, federal areas and other organizations that operate the land for which we have access to. Following these suggestions will give us safe, wonderful and memorable experiences!

How much does it cost? Dues? Fees?
Currently, there is no "activity fee" to participate and there are no 'annual dues'.
We strive to keep costs low and provide affordable options for everyone.
Only a fuel surcharge for passengers is required.
Sometimes there are additional costs involved with retreats and other larger events, which include items like lodging and pass/entrance fees and rentals. For retreats, each prospective participant will be charged the same to cover the total cost of the lodging expenses. (Total amount divided by the number of attendees).
If any balance is owed in general, or if someone is having hardship that wants to attend, much of it will be covered by the Trailside expense/scholarship fund, which is voluntarily funded year-round by many generous individuals.
During hikes and snowshoes, each carpool passenger is encouraged (but not required)
to donate some funds to their drivers for fuel/entrance costs. This is very affordable, considering there are no other fees to participate, and on most hikes, an over-abundance of trail grub is available. People are always offering handouts, so you will not have to go back to the trailhead hungry! :)

Do I ever need to sign an insurance form or any kind of liability waiver?
Not at this time. We usually don't require it due to the more leisurely activities we schedule for the group. If we had activities like skydiving and rock climbing, there would be no question that a liability waiver be required to participate. Thankfully, at this time, we won't need all of those rules and paperwork to keep us from enjoying the beautiful outdoors!
We just ask for everyone's cooperation in regards to safety AND common sense.

Is it okay if I bring my dog(s)?
Maybe, as long as it is well-behaved and allowed on the trails we hike on. Otherwise, please leave Fido at home. Some forest and park lands prohibit dogs, even on leashes. So the best thing to do is plan ahead and bring participants of the human kind :) Kids are welcome, too!

What levels of hikes do you usually have?
We have a varied range of abilities and skills, interests and needs within the group. The great thing about Trailside is the range/variety of hikes and events that take place! We do easy/manageable walks and level paths (like Rails-to-Trails) and mountain jaunts, alpine hiking and forest wanderings, walking along the seashore, and everything in between! The only thing we currently do not do is rock/mountain climbing--at least for the time being!

Has anyone ever suggested other activities other than hiking?
Absolutely! We've had requests for bicycling and canoeing, horseback riding and skiing. We receive a lot of requests for camping and leisure activities.
Due to the immense feedback we receive, the locations for an annual retreat becomes a difficult choice to make, as there are so many great places to have a retreat! We do appreciate the feedback, and input/suggestions from participants and onlookers alike!
Skydiving and hiking in Tibet have also been requested. We don't know when/if those will ever occur, but never say never, we say :)

How do you survive without any dues or other means of income?
We merely survive with our energies and willingness to share expenses and keep costs at manageable lows. Most of our material is online, so there's very minimal expense that way. For retreats and larger events, each participant pays their portion, and pitches in for the extras. Almost always, people in the group go way above and beyond the call of duty.
There are always helping hands, willing and generous to the point of amazement, even miraculous! For example, people in our group have been known to purchase day passes for the carpool behind them!
The main thing is to ensure no one is left out--that everyone is given the chance to enjoy this magnificent program and to freely share their joys, experiences, thoughts and suggestions to us and others. We even like to hear which events we'd rather not repeat in the future! :) So come on..join us and see just how easy it really is!

In Addition:
We value what you think about your experiences with the group and our activities. If you have ideas/suggestions for making an event even more enticing and welcoming to others, you are invited to share those with us.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Trailside Pictoral Collections October 25, 2011 7:44 PM Mike T.
TREES--and why they're essential! October 25, 2011 6:50 PM Mike T.
Trailside History Timeline 2003-present July 11, 2013 12:14 AM Mike T.
About T R A I L S I D E January 19, 2017 10:26 PM Chuck M.

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