Outdoor Safety & Ethics

Forest HikerAlabama's national forests take every step to make your visit a safe and memorable experience. In an effort to ensure outdoor safety, pre-cautionary guidelines are listed to make you and your family less vulnerable to various risks and dangers. You are asked to follow certain ethical rules designed to protect the forest and its natural environment. These rules are intended to uphold the health and safety of visitors while providing a rewarding outdoor recreational experience for all. Check Forest bulletin boards or contact a district office for rules and regulations.



Watch for Hazardous Situations

  • Remember, you are responsible for your own safety
  • Watch out for natural hazards within the forest
  • Wear appropriate safety gear when participating in any activity

Apply the “Neighborhood Watch” Concept

  • Know how to contact law enforcement and other emergency services personnel
  • Keep an eye out for the well being of your fellow forest visitors
  • Be observant of others and their activity

“Know Before You Go” - Prepare for your visit to a National Forest

  • Obtain a Motor Vehicle Use map, a Forest map of the area you are visiting and law enforcement phone numbers
  • Tell a friend where you are going
  • Be prepared in case you get stranded
  • Carry identification; preferably your name, phone number and any pertinent medical information
  • Check Forest bulletin boards for closure orders and visitor rules, or visit the district office before your trip

Respect the Forest and Neighbors

  • Throw all garbage, litter, and foreign substances in trash containers
  • Wash food and personal items away from drinking supplies
  • Do not carve, chop, cut, or damage any live tree. Leave natural areas the way you find them
  • Native American sites, old cabins, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value- DO NOT remove or damage them
  • Remember to practice trail courtesy while sharing trails with other Forest users
  • No fighting or boisterous behavior
  • Keep noise at a reasonable level. Be considerate of your neighbor
  • Marijuana use is illegal. Alcohol is not allowed in developed recreation areas, other posted areas, or on national forest land where city or county laws prohibit alcohol possession
  • Check the listing of Forest visitor rules located on the website

Hunter Safety

Hunter in camouflage clothing sitting next to tree with rifle.We want to ensure the safety of the public while traveling on roads and using our recreation facilities. Hunters cannot hunt or discharge a firearm within 50 yards of the right-of-way of any public road or highway. The following are additional safety requirements and regulations hunters should be aware of while in the national forests:

  • Avoid hunting and discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsites, developed recreation sites, occupied areas and trails.
  • Off- road vehicles (ORV) are prohibited unless on designated ORV trails.
  • Check state regulations regarding the use of dogs for deer hunting.
  • Always tell someone when and where you will be hunting.
  • Avoid hunting trips where you are alone. Be very careful and hunt in familiar places.
  • Check the weather forecast before going into the woods.
  • Protect yourself from hypothermia by dressing properly. Wear layered clothing.
  • Always wear hunter orange to be easily seen.
  • Check hunting equipment before and after each outing.
  • Be aware that the national forest boundaries are marked with red paint on trees, or yellow signs with black printing.
  • No permanent deer stands are allowed in the national forest.
  • The use of baiting or salt blocks is prohibited.
  • Be careful climbing in and out of deer stands. Falling can cause injuries. Alabama regulations now require all hunters utilizing a tree stand on wildlife management areas to wear a safety belt or harness.
  • Anyone born on or after August 1, 1977 must complete a hunter-education course before purchasing their first hunting license. Contact the Department of Conservation.
  • Obtain copies of hunting rules and regulations by contacting the Alabama Department of Conservation or visiting their website.
  • Copies and permits can also be available at most sporting goods departments.
  • Visit or call any USDA Forest Service office for information about forest visitor and motor vehicle use maps, hunter camps, and camping permits.