Show Cowboy Character: Recreate Responsibly
Out here in Wyoming, Cowboy Character is at the heart of who we are. We ask that while you visit, you follow the Cowboy Code of Ethics by practicing Leave No Trace and recreating responsibly, so that everyone can share our outdoor spaces. Follow these ten core principles of life in the west as you explore our wild forests and plains:
1. Live Each Day with Courage
Have the courage and integrity to recreate responsibly all the time, not just when someone is watching.
2. Always Finish What You Start
Never leave a campfire unattended and always extinguish it completely. Fires should be cold to the touch. Always use established fire rings and check ahead for fire restrictions.
3. Take Pride in Your Work
Take pride in leaving the area better than you found it. Pick up after yourself or others, stay on the trails, obey all posted signs, and park in designated areas only. Plan ahead with a backup plan in case your preferred trailhead parking is full. When camping, it’s important to know where you can camp, plan ahead if reservations are required, and leave campsites better than you found them.
4. Do What Has to be Done
Pay the day use fees, as they fund toilet facilities. Using provided facilities and cleaning up after pets protects water sources from contamination. When facilities are not available, plan to pack out waste, or dig a 6-8" deep cathole at least 200 feet away from water.
5. Be Tough, but Fair
Yield to others on all multi-use trails. Mountain bikers yield to hikers, hikers and mountain bikers yield to equestrians. Always leash pets in crowded areas and near wildlife.
6. Ride for the Brand
When riding, always stay on designated trails and roads to protect vegetation. Treat the land with respect by seeking dry areas, as riding through mud and water damages trails and streams. Conversely, if trails are unavoidably wet, do not create new trails and stick with the mud.
7. Talk Less & Say More
Respectfully engage with others when there is conflict. Have the courage to speak up and educate others on responsible recreation.
8. Remember that Some Things Aren’t for Sale (Or to Pet)
Take only pictures, keep only memories, and give someone else the joy of discovery by leaving nature as it is found. Keep animals wild by giving them plenty of space, and never feed a wild animal.
9. Know Where to Draw the Line
Preserve search and rescue resources by knowing your limits, equipment, and the area, and being wise about how you engage in your activity.
10. When You Make a Promise, Keep It
Pledge to take care of Albany County’s public lands when recreating. A Cowboy always keeps their word.
*ATVs, Side-by-sides, 4x4s
The mountains west of Laramie offer some of the best networks of trail riding in the west. Before heading out, it’s important to get your ORV permit, bring a map, and know and follow all rules.
In 2021, many of the open trails in Medicine Bow National Forest will weave through the burn scar area from the 2020 Mullen Fire. In order for these trails to remain open for others to enjoy, it is absolutely IMPERATIVE to stay on the trail and follow ALL rules including respecting any and all closures put in place by the US Forest Service. We want all users to be able to enjoy a great summer season of riding, and it is critical for all users to follow the rules and stay on the trails for them to remain open.
*Winter Trail Etiquette
In winter, it’s even more important to check weather and avalanche conditions ahead of your trip. Come prepared for any winter weather condition, and be avalanche aware in the Snowy Range.
It’s important to follow appropriate trail etiquette in the winter while enjoying our trails. Uphill travelers have the right-of-way, fat-tire bikes yield to all on foot, and snowmobiles always yield on the right. Always respect groomed trails by staying out of the skin tracks, and check the trails ahead to make sure your recreation matches the trail.