Safety Around People

Advance preparation can help ensure that outdoor activities are as safe and enjoyable as possible. However, it’s difficult to predict the behavior of other forest visitors.  As is possible in any public place, visitors might encounter someone who is angry, intoxicated or armed. Being cautious of strangers is always appropriate.  No place is immune from illegal activity. Suspicious behavior might lead to automobile break-ins, marijuana cultivation or attempted arson.  If you witness or experience any suspicious activity, immediately call local law enforcement.  Do not attempt to address the situation yourself. The safety of forest visitors is top priority.  The Forest Service does not tolerate threats or acts of violence against visitors or employees.

Theft

As peaceful as the forest may seem, a few visitors may experience vehicle break-ins.  The proximity of some NFS lands to urban areas and towns can make visitors more susceptible to common crimes.

  • Always be aware and alert. Some visitors engage in theft.
  • Lock your car. As simple as this seems, many people still forget.
  • Don’t leave your travel plans on the windshield of your car. Thieves will be able to break in more easily, as they will be more likely to know when you will not be nearby.  Leave your plans at the district ranger’s office or with someone at home, such as a neighbor, relative, or friend. Don’t leave valuables inside your car.If you must leave valuables, hide them from view or lock them in the trunk. Empty the glove compartment and leave it open to show that nothing is inside.
  • Don’t park your car with the trunk backed toward the woods. This orientation provides cover for someone trying to break into your trunk.  If your car has been vandalized, contact local law enforcement officials.  Your information can provide critical tips to investigators.
  • Research your camping area. Read about the camping area you will be visiting.  Although it rarely happens, it is possible for valuable camping equipment to be stolen when left unattended.  For your safety and reassurance, ask the district ranger and read about the area in which you will be staying beforehand so that you can better assess the risk of theft.

Other Illegal Activity

  • Always be aware, alert and cautious.
  • Back away from any people who appear to be angry, intoxicated or otherwise out of control.
  • Keep children, pets, and personal property away from anyone or any situation that appears to be suspicious.
  • Notify law enforcement officials of any suspicious behavior or situation.
  • While rare, marijuana cultivation sites and methamphetamine laboratories can be found in remote locations.  Persons responsible for these facilities are dangerous and should be avoided.
  • A typical marijuana cultivation site consists of 1 to 2 camping areas that may occupy up to 1 to 2 acres; 3 to 15 plots that are separated by a distance of a few yards to half a mile and that collectively occupy up to 10 to 20 acres; and a trail system leading to supply points that encompasses up to 50 acres.  
  • Chemicals used to grow or produce these illegal products can be highly combustible and pose considerable risk to people.  Many are explosive or could burn if they are inhaled or if they come into contact with bare skin.
  • If you discover a suspicious site, leave the area immediately.   Go to a safe place, and call 911.  Report the encounter to law enforcement authorities.