Tip of the Month
Winter on the Plains
It is a beautiful day on the Pawnee National Grassland. As you drive, the ground is mostly dry interspersed with some snow. You choose to continue on the graveled county road, getting up to summertime speeds. You go over a rise and plow straight into a drifted snow bank! The snow had to go somewhere. Hopefully you were not injured in your mishap, have a shovel and the time to dig out.
Next time you are out, you drive slowly and come to a snowdrift. This time you drive around the snow. Unfortunately, this too has an impact and frequently creates resource damage. Off-road tracks create water pools, ruts and leave a mess, requiring repair when the weather warms.
Once again, you head east. You drive slowly, especially when you cannot see what is just over the rise. You turn around instead of trying to drive around a snowdrift. Congratulations, you have decreased your chances of getting stuck, injured or causing resource damage.
Of course do not forget to watch the weather, keep winter survival equipment in your car and at least a half tank of gas, and let someone know your route before heading out to travel in those mountains and plains.
Keep in mind that road, trail and area closures still exist due to flood damage. Visit the 2013 Flood Information Page for the most recent closure map and information. Areas affected by the flood do not look the same. Remember, your safety is your responsibility. If you encounter an unsafe situation on a road or trail that is open, please stop and turn around. Emergency response access is limited. Be prepared with emergency supplies.