Backcountry Winter Safety Toolkit

The Backcountry Winter Safety Toolkit can be used to promote safety practices to tourists and communities when exploring the backcountry.

With growing signs that unprecedented numbers of recreationists will be heading into the Colorado backcountry this winter, the Colorado Tourism Office launched a campaign that encourages backcountry enthusiasts to keep themselves and others safe. This campaign is meant to reduce pressures on natural resources, Colorado Search and Rescue and rural public health systems already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The material in this toolkit can be used by tourism partners and organizations to encourage individuals to take the Backcountry Safety Pledge.

Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Campaign website  

Overview

Type: Toolkit

For: Tourism partners

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

None of the materials in the Colorado Tourism Office toolkits can be altered or customized in any way without the Colorado Tourism Office’s consent, including the addition or subtraction of:

  • logos
  • text
  • punctuation
  • images

If you’re considering altering any of the following, email editor@colorado.com, who can facilitate a review for special uses. 

It is a violation of use of the Colorado Tourism Office’s materials if you are:

  • adding your or any other organization’s logo to the materials outlined above
  • removing the Colorado Tourism Office logo from any of the materials
  • altering any part of the Colorado Tourism Office logo (includes colors, size, shape, and text)
  • repurposing the toolkit principles to fit your own organization (example: [Insert City Name]’s Care for Colorado Principles).
  • posting any of the above on your website or social channels without crediting the Colorado Tourism Office

To use the Colorado Tourism Office’s toolkits responsibly you can: 

  • reference the copyrighted material in the text – principles should never be labeled as rules, but always as principles or guidelines; they should always be referred to as the “[name of the campaign] Principles”
  • reference the full campaign name in the text, the name should always be spelled out – for example, do not use LNT or Leave-No-Trace, instead of Leave No Trace
  • reprint toolkit material in your visitor guide or include them in your welcome packet – email us if you need different sizes for this purpose.
  • work with Colorado Tourism Office to customize portions of the toolkit for your destination/organization and have it printed on ReLeaf paper; minor edits to non-principles content can be made for free
  • share toolkit videos and content on your website and social channels, crediting the Colorado Tourism Office and other partners involved in individual campaigns
  • print toolkit material and posters and post them in your visitor center or other welcome areas
  • print material from the toolkit to hand out to guests

The social media themes for the Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week are:

  • Day 1 (Dec. 7) - Know Before You Go/Choose Your Destination Wisely
  • Day 2 (Dec. 8) - Recreate Responsibly/Avoid Activities Beyond Your Skill Level
  • Day 3 (Dec. 9) - Care for Colorado/ Trash the Trash
  • Day 4 (Dec. 10) - Know Before You Go/Check Avalanche Forecasts and Danger Ratings
  • Day 5 (Dec. 11) - Recreate Responsibly/ Bring Proper Safety Equipment
  • Day 6 (Dec. 12) - Care for Colorado/Keep Wildlife Wild
  • Day 7 (Dec. 13) - Take the Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge

Social media video

The Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety video promotes getting in front of backcountry danger and exploring with caution. The campaign video can also be downloaded as a resized version compatible for social media.

Social media theme posts

The following social media language and graphics can be used on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to raise awareness and encourage participation in backcountry safety. Each post correlates the theme for that day of the week.

Day 1 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Choose Your Destination Wisely. Always tell someone where you’re going, what trailhead you’ll be parked at, what your intended route is, and when you will be back home. Some areas that are easy adventures in the summer can become dangerous with winter conditions. Know and respect trail and area closures. Have a backup plan if the trailhead is closed, crowded or has unsafe conditions. The Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) app can give you trail closures and help you plan and navigate your route. #KnowBeforeYouGo #RecreateResponsibly

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Safety Week theme is Choose Your Destination Wisely. Tell someone the specifics of your plan and when you’ll be back, have a back-up plan if the trail is crowded, and use the COTREX app to navigate your route and know about trail closures. #KnowBeforeYouGo #RecreateResponsibly

Day 2 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Avoid Activities Beyond Your Skill Level. If you’re new to backcountry skiing, boarding or snowmobiling, get some education first and find an experienced friend or professional guide to venture out with. If you’re doing a winter fourteener climb for the first time, do your homework and find one that is beginner-friendly. Many of our search and rescue teams have already been overloaded this year, and being responsible can help prevent stressing them further. Today is also Colorado Gives day, and you can help the SAR community by donating to your local team or to CSAR. #RecreateResponsibly #ColoradoGives

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Safety Week theme is to Avoid Activities Beyond Your Skill Level. Get the education you need before you take up backcountry skiing, boarding or snowmobiling, and go out with an experienced mentor or professional guide. Our search and rescue teams don’t want to meet you by accident! #RecreateResponsibly #ColoradoGives

Day 3 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Trash the Trash. Don’t trash our beautiful backcountry. Whatever you pack in, pack it out. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep Colorado landscapes clean. Respectful recreation includes disposing of trash properly, not walking on or damaging vegetation, not stacking rocks on top of each other, and properly putting out campfires. #CareForColorado

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Winter Safety Week theme is Trash the Trash. Don’t trash our beautiful backcountry; pack out what you pack in, avoid walking on vegetation, don’t stack rocks on top of each other and put out your campfires. #CareForColorado

Day 4 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Check Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s (CAIC) Forecast and Avalanche Danger Rating. Weather can change quickly and avalanches can strike even the most  prepared winter recreationist. In fact, studies show that most avalanche accidents involve experienced backcountry users. Don’t be complacent!  Always check your local CAIC forecast before you go: https://avalanche.state.co.us/ Statewide Twitter Account- https://twitter.com/COAvalancheInfo  #RecreateResponsibly #KnowBeforeYouGo

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Winter Safety Week theme is to always Check the CAIC Forecast and Danger Rating. Don’t be complacent! Most avalanche accidents involve experienced backcountry users. https://avalanche.state.co.us/ Statewide Twitter Account- https://twitter.com/COAvalancheInfo #RecreateResponsibly #KnowBeforeYouGo

Day 5 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Bring the Proper Safety Equipment. Carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel and know how to use them. Bring your mask, and always pack the ten essentials in your backpack: extra warm layers, first-aid kit, navigation tools, a fire-starting kit, headlamp or flashlight, food and water, repair tools for your gear, a whistle, sun protection, and some sort of shelter like a tarp or bivy. If an accident happens, can you survive a night out?  #RecreateResponsibly

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Winter Safety Week theme is Bring the Proper Safety Equipment. That means having an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel and knowing how to use them; and carrying the ten essentials so you’re prepared to spend a night out if the worst happens. #RecreateResponsibly

Day 6 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s theme is to Keep Wildlife Wild. Colorado’s amazing wildlife is part of the draw to live and play in our great state. But wildlife is wild, and we all need to do our part to keep them that way. Give wildlife space and don’t harass, feed or approach them. 
Keeping wildlife safe and conserving their habitat means respecting trail closures and always picking up and properly throwing away all trash. #CareForColorado

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Safety Week theme is Keep Wildlife Wild. Keep wildlife safe and conserve their habitat by giving them space and not harassing, feeding or approaching them. Pick up and dispose of your trash. #CareForColorado

Day 7 social media graphics and language

Facebook and Instagram: Governor Polis has proclaimed this week Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week, and today’s final theme is to Take the Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge. Nature belongs to us all and trail etiquette is social etiquette. Knowing the rules of the backcountry makes the outdoor experience better and safer for us all. Get ahead of backcountry winter recreation dangers and take the pledge. Be educated, be safe, be kind to wildlife and others. #RecreateResponsibly #CareForColorado #LiveLifeOutside

Twitter: Today’s CO Backcountry Safety Week final theme is to Take the Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge. Be educated, be safe, be kind to wildlife and others. The outdoors is what we’re all about in Colorado. #CareForColorado #RecreateResponsibly #LiveLifeOutside

These static banner ads can be used on your websites to guide individuals to the Backcountry Winter Safety pledge.

Outdoor agencies across Colorado have reported an increase in visitation and off-grid winter recreation.

Skiing and winter sports are a vital driver to Colorado’s economy. During the pandemic, some ski areas may have limited capacity and reservation protocols which could result in more people recreating in Colorado’s backcountry.

Backcountry recreation can be dangerous and requires certain safety precautions and equipment to ensure a safe outdoor experience.

In an effort to reduce any increased impact on Colorado’s natural resources and search and rescue teams- Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Tourism Office, Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Colorado Search and Rescue Association developed a backcountry safety pledge and educational online resource to promote the diverse winter outdoor opportunities that exist in our state and how to recreate responsibly.

The goal of the campaign is to inspire Coloradans and visitors to take the Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge and balance safe outdoor recreation with mindful conservation.

First-time visitors to the backcountry are encouraged to complete safety training and hire a certified guide if they do not possess the skills to safely explore the backcountry.

Governor Jared Polis proclaimed Dec. 7-13 “Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week”. Throughout the week, we ask outdoor recreation agencies and stakeholders to promote important backcountry winter safety messages.

Program Manager

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