General Safety Information
Please read the Rules & Permits page before visiting Tuscarawas County Park Department locations. Flag down a Tuscarawas County Trailblazer if you need assistance!
Check Trail Status: Before you visit, please check with the Park Department website or Facebook page for trail status updates or closure. Please stay out of closed areas for everyone’s safety.
Trail Maintenance: If you need to report maintenance concerns along the trail, please call the Park Department at 330-365-3278 or their maintenance line at 330-365-3288.
For emergencies, call 911.
The Tuscarawas County Park Department encourages visitors to travel with a friend! If you do hike alone, please make sure that a friend or family member knows where you are going and how long you will be gone. Here are some more hiking tips:
- Plan Your Trip (trailheads, distances, restrooms, conditions etc.)
- Check the Weather
- Dress Appropriately
- Bring Plenty of Water
- Don’t Forget Sunscreen and Bug Spray
- Leave No Trace
The Tuscarawas County Park Department may temporarily close specific areas within their jurisdiction to all visitors upon a determination that such action is necessary for reasons of weather, resource protection or management, permitted special events, avoidance of conflict among visitor activities, law enforcement, or other situations involving public health, safety, or welfare. Maintenance crews may also temporarily close specific areas for construction, reconstruction, or maintenance purposes.
Whenever the Tuscarawas County Park Department temporarily closes access to property within its jurisdiction, the public shall be notified by one or more of the following methods:
- On the Park Department website or Facebook page
- Signs or physical barriers
- Mass communication in other media such as print, radio, or other electronic communication (newsletters, etc.)
Due to close proximity to the Tuscarawas River, flooding is a concern along the Canal Lands Towpath Trail. If the Dover Dam water elevation levels are above 885 ft., access at the Canal Lands Park trailhead is likely flooded and the Towpath Trail south to SR-800 are underwater. Over 890 ft., the Towpath Trail is only dry and accessible ~1 mile past the Ft. Laurens trailhead, and flooded at the Canal Lands Park and SR-800.
The Army Corps of Engineers note that when the water levels are above 872 ft. at Dover Dam, kayakers should exit the Tuscarawas River at the Canal Lands Park boat launch ramp in Zoar.
Safe is Sound
For a safe and enjoyable visit:
- Wear a Helmet
- Be Bright, Stay to the Right
- Give Audible Warning Before Passing
- Protect Your Pet – 8 ft. Leash
- Take Breaks to the Side of the Trail
- Slow Down
- Single File
- Do Not Block the Trail
- All Yield to Horses
NHTSA Bicycle Safety
More information can be found at https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety.
How to Fit a Bike Helmet https://www.nhtsa.gov/document/fitting-your-bike-helmet/.
Safe Riding Tips
Before riding, make sure you and your bike are ready to ride. Remember to:
- Wear a Bike Helmet. Protect your brain, safe your life.
- Adjust Your Bike to Fit. Stand over your bike. There should be 1-2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3-4 inches if using a mountain bike. The seat should be level front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
- Check Your Equipment. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that the brakes work.
- See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, make yourself visible. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding, to make yourself the most visible to others. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
- Control Your Bike. Ride with two hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn.
- Watch For and Avoid Road Hazards. Look for hazards that may make you crash, such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
- Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. This includes making eye contact with drivers, using turn signals, pointing to road hazards for bicyclists behind you, and stating “passing on your left,” or “on your left.”
- Avoid Riding at Night. It’s harder for other road users to see bicyclists at dusk, dawn or nighttime. Use reflectors on the front and rear of the bike. White lights and red rear reflectors or lights are required by law in all States.
Rules for Biking on the Road
In all States, bikes on the roadway are considered vehicles, and bicyclists are the drivers of those vehicles, with the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists to follow the rules of the road, including:
- Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right side in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow – not against it.
- Obey All Traffic Laws. As the driver of your vehicle on the road, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- Yield to Traffic. Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), slow down, look for traffic, and go only when it’s clear. Also yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
- Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes and ears. Look for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. Listen for traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don’t use personal electronic devices when you ride.
- Look Before Turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, and then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
- Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).
Where to Ride Safely
For anyone riding on a sidewalk, please check the law in your jurisdiction to make sure sidewalk riding is allowed.
- Watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways.
- Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for cars and to make sure the drivers see you before crossing.
- Enter a street or a corner and not between parked cars. Alert pedestrians that you are nearby, saying, “Passing on your left,” or use a bell or horn.
AAA Bike Basics – Share the Road
More than half a million collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles occur in the United States each year. Many of these incidents are the result of motorists’ failure to properly yield to bicyclists. Motorists need to increase their overall awareness of bicyclists – especially when making turns, and remember to look for bicyclists who are turning or continuing straight. Check for bicyclists riding along the edge of the traffic lane before opening car doors, too. And don’t forget to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing – more at higher speeds!
Bicyclists should be alert and watch for turning and parked motor vehicles. Bicyclists should also clearly communicate their intentions to motorists by using proper hand signals. Using helmets, visible clothing, lights and designated bike lanes and paths are all key factors for increasing safety and ensuring a pleasurable biking adventure.
Remember – we all have places to go – let’s get there safely and respect one another when sharing the road.
Hunting Safety Notice
Stay safe during hunting season!
Hunting is not allowed on the County owned portion of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, but we would like to share the following tips for trail users during hunting season which extends through March:
Get Educated: Specific dates for hunting season vary year to year and also by type of game hunted and weapon used. Please check the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website (wildlife.ohiodnr.gov) for specific hunting dates.
Wear Blaze Orange: Wear a fluorescent or “blaze” orange hat and vest (and pack cover if backpacking), or a hooded outerwear when hiking. Blaze orange will help distinguish you from wild game. If you hike with a dog, it should also wear blaze orange visible from all sides. Pets are to be leashed at all times while utilizing the trails.
Use Extra Caution at Dawn and Dusk: The trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Hunting activity may increase at dawn and dusk, when animals are feeding and visibility is poor. Wear reflective vests or use a headlamp or flashlight for extra visibility.
Use Extra Caution Near Roads & In Valleys: Be especially cautious within ½ mile of road crossing (both approaching and leaving) and in valley areas.
Be Heard: Make noise and make yourself known. Whistle, sing or carry on a conversation as you walk to alert hunters to your presence. Sound carries well across open fields and valleys, and hunters should be listening for any sounds of animal movement. If you do hear shooting, raise your voice and let hunters know that you are in the vicinity.
Know Your Own Comfort Level: If the idea of hiking during any hunting season makes you uneasy, choose a hike in a location where hunting is not allowed.
The preceding Safety tips do not warrant that all, or any, potential hazards have been identified or evaluated, nor that adherence to these tips will prevent injury or harm. Tuscarawas County assumes no liability for such information or lack of information.