Plan Your Trip For Safety


There is a lot to enjoy and discover in this changing forest.   However, use caution in your exploration. Many of the dead trees can and do fall without warning and without wind.   Please follow the “Watch Out!”  guidelines to reduce your risk. Share these guidelines with others. Enjoy the national forest and return home SAFELY.   Everyone who visits the national forest needs to remain very aware of their surroundings. More and more trees are expected to fall down over the next several years.   Trees typically begin falling within 3-5 years of beetle kill and continue to fall for the next 10-15 years. Some areas of the forest have been dead for 10 years. Expect the rate of tree fall to increase. Watching out for falling trees is more important than ever because this hazard will be with us a while.   Remember- your safety is your responsibility!

Plan your trip for safety

1.   Contact our Visitor Information Specialists to find out the latest  about recreation opportunities and any closures and conditions.

2.    Review the Hazard Tree Guidelines. Remember them as you park your car, sit down to rest or picnic, pitch your tent, plan your route, etc. Look up, Look down, look all around. When travelling on forest roads and trails, be prepared to encounter fallen trees across the route. Riders of horses, ATV’s, and motorcycles should be especially alert to these potential obstacles.

3.    Check the weather forecast before heading out ( Winds and moist conditions increase the hazard of trees falling.

4.    Make sure someone knows where you are going, when you expect to be back and what to do if you don’t return.

5.    Don’t rely only on cell phones. Cell phones don’t always have reception in mountainous areas.

6.    When possible, travel in groups in your party. If one member of your party gets hurt, the others can assist and get help. Solo travel is not advised.

7.    Dress for changing weather: conditions can change quickly no matter what the time of year. 

8.    Pack adequate food and water and personal safety equipment.

9.    Take a map, compass or other items that will help you know where you are. Plan an open and safe route. Make note of openings you can retreat to if winds become strong.

10.  Falling trees aren’t the only hazard out there. Be prepared for storms, lightning, flash floods, altitude, ticks, mosquitoes and wildlife encounters.