Hiking Roles and Responsibilities

Springwater Trails Organization

Revised 10/1/12

 The Springwater Trails Hiking group shares responsibilities for planning and hike safety.  The following roles are described below:

  • Vice President for Hiking – The Springwater Trails VP currently has overall responsibility for the hiking group.
  • Hike Coordinator – this person creates the seasonal schedule.
  • Hike Planner – this person recommends and plans a single hike.
  • Group Leader – this person leads one hiking group on the day of the hike.
  • Group Sweep – this person hikes last in the group and keeps a count of the hikers.
  • Social Host – this person plans the after hike social.
  • Membership – this person tracks attendance at all hikes.

Seasonal Hike Coordinator Responsibilities

A Seasonal Hike Coordinator will be selected for each season of hikes (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter).  The Seasonal Hike Coordinator  is responsible for designing the hike schedule and working with the Hike Planner to ensure a smooth-running hike season.  The Seasonal Hike Coordinator can be reached at [email protected]. Specific responsibilities include

  • Reporting the status of the Hike Plan to the Vice-President.
  • Creating a calendar for the 3 month season
    • The calendar should include
      • Date and time of each hike
      • Name, phone number and email address of each Hike Planner
      • Plans for a social including whether a picnic, restaurant or at a hiker’s home.
      • Additional comments
  • Hike calendar should be balanced.
    • At least 80% of the hikes located within a 20 mile radius of Springwater
    • Hikes should be appropriate for three skills and capabilities of hikers
  • The Hike calendar will be reviewed by the Vice President and other officers so that it is ready for distribution at least two weeks before the beginning of the new season.
  • Tracking each hike during the season by
    • Checking with each hike planner to confirm information needed for hike description
    • Ensuring that the hike description is sent to the Web Master ([email protected]) for communication by Wednesday before the hike
    • Communicating any hike relocation to the Web Master.
    • On the day of the hike, the Seasonal Hike Coordinator or the Hike Planner must decide and announce any cancellation of the hike due either of the following reasons.  The cancellation should be confirmed with the Vice President and communicated to the Web Master if at all possible.  If relocating the hike will avoid cancellation  that option is preferred. The following reasons warrant a cancellation.
      • Lightning or other weather emergency at the time of the hike.
      • Unforeseen difficulties with the hike, including missing permits or permissions.

Hike Planner Responsibilities

A Hike Planner is assigned to each hike by the Seasonal Hike Coordinator.  The Hike Planner is responsible for the one hike and should work with the Coordinator to ensure that the hike proceeds smoothly.

If the hike is on private property, the Hike Planner must receive permission to hike prior to the hike day.  If a permit is required to hike on the land, the Hike Planner must obtain and fill out the permit prior to the hike.

The Hike Planner has the following responsibilities.

  • Pre-view the hike to ensure that the proposed route is known and available.
  • Select group leaders for the three groups of hikers planned for the hike.
  • Ensure that all group leaders understand the route to be taken.  The Hike Planner should provide maps if needed.
  • Complete a hike description by Wednesday before the hike and forward it to the Seasonal Hike Coordinator and the Web Master.
    • Title for hike – General Location
    • Date/Time of Hike
    • Parking and Meeting Location
    • General Description of Hike – 3 or 4 sentences of highlights.  Phrase to help remember hike.
    • Specifics for Skill Level Groups – Naturalist(Beginning) , Tourists(Intermediate), Climbers (Advanced) other activities such as kayaking/canoeing, etc.
    • After Hike Social – location – what to bring
    • Directions to Parking area – be specific, especially when the hike is new.
  • Introduce the hike and the leaders at the start of the hike.  Organize the hikers into the groups.  If more hikers join the hike than expected, the hike planner must work with other members of the hiking group to assign extra leaders and form additional hiking groups.

Group Leader Responsibilities

The Group Leaders have the primary responsibility of leading the group of hikers assigned to the group through the hike safely and ensuring that all hikers return to their cars at the end of the hike.  Specific responsibilities are:

  • Understand the route of the planned hike.
  • Know how many hikers are starting the hike.  For safety and improved enjoyment, the group must be at least 4 hikers and no more than 15 hikers.  Otherwise, ask that the groups be rearranged prior to the hike starting.
  • Select a sweep for the hike.
  • Confirm your communications with the sweep and with the Hike Planner.  If possible, the leader should carry a walkie-talkie, but if only one is available the sweep should carry it at the back of the hikers.
  • At regular intervals during the hike, ensure that the sweep has been able to catch up with all hikers.
  • Set a pace appropriate for the group of hikers.
  • Ensure that emergency procedures are followed in cases of an emergency.  This is your primary responsibility and it should be taken seriously.

Sweep Responsibilities

Each group of hikers will have a Sweep assigned by the Group Leader.  The Sweep’s primary responsibility is to keep the group together.  Generally the Sweep will hike at the back of the group so that all hikers in the group are visible.  Specific suggestions and responsibilities for the sweep

  • Carry a walkie-talkie if possible for communications.  Otherwise, the sweep should agree with the group leader on any communications methods to be used during the hike.
  • The sweep should carry the First Aid Kit or be aware of who is carrying it.
  • Count the number of hikers in the group.  Verify that all hikers are accounted for on a regular basis during the hike.  A simple count every two or three minutes is appropriate.
  • Contact the group leader if
    • The group is too spread out to complete the count.
    • Any hiker needs the group to stop.
    • An emergency occurs.

Social Host

Most hikes are followed by a social, either at the host’s home, or at a restaurant.  The hike planner may be the social host or may work with another hiker who will be the social host.  The social host has the following responsibilities.

  • Coordinate information about the social with the hike planner for inclusion in the hike description.

NOTE: if hosted at a private home, directions to the social should be explained at the hike rather than in the hike notice.

  • The host must contact the restaurant so they are aware the group is coming.
  • The host is responsible for set up/clean-up of food/paper products and the donation basket.

Membership Coordinator Hiking Responsibilities

The membership coordinator (currently the organization treasurer), has the responsibilities to ensure that attendance at each hike is accurately tracked.  These responsibilities should be delegated to another hiker when the coordinator is unable to attend the hike.

  • Provide an attendance sheet at the start of each hike with hikers names who have hiked with the group in the last three months.
  • Have all hikers listed on the attendance sheet sign once per hiking session, after checking their name and confirming attendance and acceptance of the hiking guidelines and that they agree they are hiking at their own risk.
  • Have new hikers print their name, email, and phone #/ and sign the attendance sheet to accept the hiking guidelines and that they agree they are hiking at their own risk. Provide them with a guideline sheet.