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Rural Safety

Walking on South Road

Locals are generally aware the students and other community members walk on South Road, but out of town visitors may not be expecting foot traffic. Take extra precautions to keep yourself safe while walking! 

You can check out lights and other gear from the OP.

It really helps if you:

  • Listen attentively for oncoming traffic. Take out your headphones!
  • Step aside when traffic is about to pass.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing (or carry a light or reflective device).
  • Do not walk two or more abreast in the problem area.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic.

The most dangerous stretch (with the least visibility for drivers) is from the crest of the hill by “Cottage Lane” all the way past “Wendell Cottage,” the little white house at 2325 South Road.

Bear Protocol

We do occasionally encouter wildlife, including bears, on Marlboro's beautiful rural campus! If you see a bear, do not run.  Make a lot of noise and motion.  This is very likely to frighten the bear off. IF you frequently walk in the woods at dusk, you can check out a bear bell from the OP (email op@marlboro.edu). Here are the other best practices from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept.

In general, when you encounter a black bear you should:

  • Remain calm.
  • Ensure the bear has an escape route.
  • Back away when possible.
  • If attacked in a building or tent, immediately fight back. 
  • DON'T run from a bear.
  • DON'T climb trees to escape a bear.
  • DON'T feed bears.

If you encounter a bear in your backyard:

Encountering a bear in a backyard is a common occurrence in some areas because bears are often attracted to bird feeders, trash, pet food, etc.

Your Action:

  • Make loud noises (for example shouting or banging pots and pans) to deter the bear from the area. 
  • Do not approach the bear. 
  • After the bear leaves, be sure to keep trash in a secure container or locked out-building, bring in bird feeders and pet food and remove any other potential attractants. 

Visit this page for more information about how to deal with our black bears (as opposed to grizzlies, which we DO NOT have here).

Additional information about living with black bears in Vermont.

If you have a direct encounter with a bear that is aggressive in nature, contact Residential Life and/or 911.  

Hunting Season

Although hunting is not allowed on Marlboro's land, our property abuts other land where hunting is legal. November deer hunting season in Vermont is the time you should be most careful walking in the woods. If you frequently explore the far reaches of Marlboro's trail system, you should check dates for other seasons before you head out. Here are some basic tips for rural safety during hunting season (adapted from): 

1. Wear brightly colored clothing. Orange and red are good colors because they will stand out. White, black, brown, and other earth-tones are obvious “no-no’s”.

2. Don’t forget your furbabies! Put a brightly colored vest or sweater on Fido. It’s not just a fashion statement – dogs can easily be mistaken for a woodland critter.

3. Stay on the trails. Sportsmen tend to stray away from heavily used trails. This is not the time to go geocaching or bushwacking because hunters will be looking for movement in more wooded areas.

4. Make noise. This will probably scare the deer – and hunters – off.

5. Avoid hiking at dawn and dusk. These are prime hunting times because it is when deer are most active. It is also more dangerous because hunters may have a more difficult time making out colors and shapes due to the lack of light.