Outdoor Safety & Ethics

Lassie and Ranger Corey Stuart

Ranger Corey Stuart and his partner Lassie, remind all visitors to enjoy a safe visit to your local national forest.

As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest and the natural environment, to ensure the health and safety of visitors, and to promote pleasant and rewarding outdoor recreation experiences for all visitors. Forest Officers are empowered to enforce the Federal Regulations which the rules listed here are taken from. Please take time to read and understand them. If you have additional questions please call your local Ranger Station to receive an answer.

The Forest Supervisor may issue Special Orders/Closures that will close or restrict the use of certain areas if the need arises. Such orders will be posted so that visitors to the National Forest can reasonably be expected to be familiar with them. Copies of the orders are available at the Forest Supervisors' office and on-line. (More about Forest and Regional Orders).


  • Use picnic sites, and other day use areas only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreation purposes.
  • In campgrounds, camp only in those places specifically marked or provided.
  • At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise been granted by the Forest Service.
  • Do not leave camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from the Forest Service.
  • The Federal Government is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.
  • Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.
  • Quiet hours are between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Please be considerate of others.


  • Obey Fire Restrictions. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times.
  • Within campgrounds, picnic areas and yellow post sites, fires may only be built in agency provided fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose.
  • Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. Do not leave your fire unattended. You are responsible for keeping fires under control.
  • Wood and charcoal fires are never permitted outside of a campground, picnic area, or yellow post site, and are subject to seasonal restrictions.  Know before you go.


  • Do not carve, chop, cut, or damage any live trees. Preserve and protect the San Bernardino National Forest. Leave natural areas the way you find them.
  • Enter buildings, structures or enclosed areas in National Forests only when they are expressly open to the public.
  • Native American, old cabins, and other structures along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value. Do not damage or remove any such historic or archeological resource.


  • Throw all garage and litter in containers provided for this purpose, or take it with you.
  • Garbage containers, when provided, are reserved for the use of visitors to the National Forest, not visitors to or owners of private lands or lands under permit.
  • Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies.
  • Use water faucets only for drawing water.
  • Prevent pollution - keep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes streams, and other water.
  • Use toilets properly Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances in toilets and plumbing fixtures.

Operation of Vehicles:

  • Vehicles are restricted to designated routes only.
  • Obey all traffic signs.
  • State traffic laws apply to the National Forest roads, violations are reported to the state department of motor vehicles.
  • When operating vehicles of any kind, do not damage the land or vegetation or disturb wildlife. Avoid driving on unpaved roads or trails when they are wet or muddy.
  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving, unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them.
  • Park only in marked parking areas.
  • Do not block, restrict, or interfere with the use of roads, trails and gates.
  • Obey area and trail restrictions on the use of non-street legal vehicles.
  • Off Highway, non-street legal vehicles must be currently registered and have an approved and functioning spark arrester.  There is no tolerance for non-compliance.
  • Non-street legal "red sticker" vehicles have a limited operating period on the forest.

Pets and Animals:

  • Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites.
  • Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas.
  • Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instructions.

Fireworks, Firearms, and Archery:

  • Fireworks and explosives are prohibited in the National Forests.
  • Firing a gun or shooting a bow and arrow is not allowed: in or within 150 yards of a residence, building; campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; across or on a road or body of water; in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged.
  • Recreational Target Shooting is limited to designated sites and may be restricted during fire season.
  • Target Shooting rules apply to firearms, air rifles and gas guns.  This includes devices used in recreational paintball activities.

National Forest Wilderness:

  • Motor vehicles and motorized equipment are not allowed.
  • Bicycles are not allowed.
  • Preserve the wilderness - "Leave only footprints, take only pictures."
  • Using a trail, campsite, or other area of the wilderness area by a group of more than 12 members is prohibited except by special-use authorization.

Fee Areas:

  • You must pay a fee to use certain developed sites, facilities and High Impact Recreation Areas (HIRA's) Such areas are clearly signed or posted as requiring a fee.
  • Where fees are required, you must pay them before using the site, facility, equipment, or service furnished.
  • Visit our Forest Adventure Pass website for fee information and maps

Public Behavior:

  • No fighting or boisterous behavior.
  • Keep noise at a reasonable level.
  • Please be considerate of fellow visitors.
  • Business Activities Permits are required for any commercial activity.

Audio Devices:

  • Operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it does not disturb other visitors.
  • A permit is required for operating a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.

Last But Not Least...

Our final rule: enjoy your visit! Plan to come back!

Emergency Contact Information/h3>

Fires and Immediate threats to life and safety—Immediately Dial 9-1-1

To report all other activities Call your Local Ranger Station during business hours or (909) 382-2600.  After hours call (909) 383-5654.

Outdoor Ethics—Behaving responsibly in the woods

As with outdoor safety, backcountry ethics or how you recreate and use the forest determine how it will be left for the next visitor. Whether you are a seasoned wilderness hiker or a first time visitor to a campground, please respect other users and use minimum impact techniques. It is up to all of us to keep these areas in good condition for the next visitor as well as the next generation.

According to Webster's Dictionary, the word ethics relates to a set of moral principles. Those things you do when no one is looking. Outdoor ethics are principles for our behavior in the outdoors. Whether backpacking deep in the backcountry or camping in a campground, these principles help us to minimize our impact to the environment.

Outdoor ethics is based on the idea that we are all stewards of the environment and should provide careful and responsible management of our great outdoors so that this generation and those to come can enjoy it. Many of these principles also help us to have a more enjoyable and safer trip.

There are two outstanding organizations that teach outdoor enthusiasts the importance of these outdoor ethics:  Leave No Trace & Tread Lightly

Know Before You Go!

Whether you are a first-time visitor or an outdoor veteran, we want you to enjoy your trip while staying safe so you can come back again and again. Use these tip sheets to help you know best practices before you go.