USDA FOREST SERVICE
Rocky Mountain Region
740 Simms Street Golden, CO 80401
Contact: Mary Ann Chambers, 970 295-6676, email@example.com
Janelle Smith, 303 275-5359, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest Service Urges Labor Day Weekend Visitors to Be Aware and Stay Safe
“Know Before You Go!”
DENVER, Sept. 3, 2010—Forest visitors who camp or picnic outside developed campgrounds or picnic areas need to be aware of the potential dangers posed by beetle-killed trees, as well as areas recently thinned to remove dead trees. Shallow rooted, green trees left after removing beetle-killed trees are more exposed to wind, making it easy for them to fall.
In the past nine months, the Forest Service has removed hazard trees from 268 campgrounds and 89 miles of trails, and contracted removal of hazard trees along 258 miles of roads in areas hardest hit by the 3.5 million acre bark beetle epidemic.
“Safety should be everyone’s priority. We have removed the majority of hazard trees in campgrounds, but the areas outside those recreation sites are still problematic and dispersed campers need to be especially careful,” said Cal Wettstein, commander of the Rocky Mountain Region Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization.
TIPS FOR SAFETY!
The Forest Service encourages visitors to know before they go by contacting local forest offices prior to their visit to ensure the area is open and safe. Even in areas open for the public, it is important to be aware and keep safe by following some simple precautions:
Locate vehicles and campsites away from dead trees; they can fall without warning.
Check local weather conditions and locate a safe place if winds pick up.
Bring canopies, umbrellas or other shelters to create shade in areas that have been cleared of dead trees.
Ensure campfires are “dead out” before leaving the area.
Remember that all fireworks are illegal on National Forests.
Check the status of your desired campground by visiting www.fs.fed.us/r2/recreation/camping/campgroundlist, or call the local Forest Service office for more information. Reservations for most campgrounds can be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
In spite of the closures and delays, there are still many great places to camp and explore on the National Forests and visitors will be able to see the new forest as young trees grow.
For general information about the bark beetle epidemic visit www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle.