Ottawa Mountain Bike Association

Natural Surface Trail Code of Conduct

Version Française 

Natural surface (dirt) trails are planned to balance a variety of recreational experiences while protecting wildlife habitat, rare plants and tree species.

Follow this code of conduct when exploring unpaved trails in natural areas:

  • Stay on the Trails
    • Dogs, people and bikes must stay on trails. Ride and run in a single file. Do not widen or cut new trails. If there is a puddle you should run, walk or ride through the middle of it and not ride around it. 
  • Respect trail closures
    • Annually during the spring thaw, trails are very wet and susceptible to damage. It is very important to not ride trails too early as it creates a lot of work to fix the damaged sections.
    • Do not use closed trails and do not disturb restoration areas. Ask the appropriate land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required.
  • Respect the Weather and Trail Conditions
    • Avoid trail usage during and after rainfall or windstorms. Using wet and muddy trails can lead to unnecessary trail erosion and widening that may result in long-lasting damage. Windstorms may cause trees or branches to fall, please be aware of your surroundings.
  • Share the Trail
    • Trails are multi-use and bi-directional unless otherwise posted. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians – slow down, communicate, and be prepared to stop. Give trail users going uphill the right of way.
    • Always be friendly and be an ambassador for your sport.
  • Control your pet
    • Keep dogs on-leash and on the trails at all times (if they are permitted on the trails). Pick up after your pet. Do not allow your dog to disturb wildlife or trample vegetation.
  • Carry Out What You Carry In
    • Put garbage in bins. Do not damage, cut or remove any vegetation – alive or dead.
  • Minimize impacts of large groups
    • Organizations carrying out group rides, runs or hikes should be making an effort to reduce the impact of the rides by limiting group sizes, staggering start times and using different starting locations. This will minimize the impact on trails, other users and the natural environment.