We have noticed a few unsettling trends and can’t pass the opportunity to continue educating where we think it important.
Historically, training of outdoor and backcountry guides in the United States has been very loosely organized. Mountain guides and hunting guides are more defined entities and as a result, formal, consistent and comprehensive training has become more stringent with responsibility and accountability more in the forefront.
But, what about hiking guides? Well, no such structure yet exists. As a result, anyone can hang up a sign and claim to be a guide. Notwithstanding, any person who leads or guides on public lands is required to have a permit issued by the appropriate governmental entity.
Step Outdoors, LLC operates with a priority use permit in the San Juan National Forest and a priority use permit in the Santa Fe National Forest. And, for these permits we are proud. We have met, and exceeded the requirements of the respective forests and continue to work with each forest to ensure guidelines are met and surpassed. In addition, we continue to participate in training and education that enhances our skills and the overall experience of our clients. As well as give numerous workshops and presentations throughout the year that shares what we know and questions what we know.
Which begs the question – what are you asking your guide and is that person qualified? Again, it is your safety, your money, your experience – is your guide experienced and competent to lead you into the wilderness?
• What is the company’s medical training requirements?
• Does the guide service have insurance?
• Will the guide service provide a list of previous clients as a reference?
• How long has the guide been guiding and how long has the guide service been in operation?
• How familiar is the guide with the destination?
With all these points to contemplate, please take your time and talk with the guide you are interested in working with – your safety and experience depends on them.