Outdoor Safety & Ethics

As a visitor to our National Forest, you will find many areas where you can enjoy and explore nature's creations. These areas encompass not only timberlands, but mountains, hills, and lakes. Your exploration of the forest may also bring opportunities to encounter some of our diverse wildlife. However, in the large and diverse lands that are covered by our forest there are hazards that can present challenges to your safety. The following sections highlight some of the challenges you may encounter and offer suggestions on how you can recreate more safely in your great outdoors.

Identifying and Avoiding Dangerous Trees

It is vitally important for forest visitors to understand that hazardous trees may be present anywhere on the national forest. Visitors are encouraged to take a hard look at their surroundings when recreating throughout the forest, and especially when selecting a campsite. Hazardous trees are not always readily apparent, but some obvious indicators of dangerous trees include damage to roots, branches or trunk; insect infestations; leaning trees; or dead trees. These types of trees are especially hazardous when the wind is blowing.

Traveling Forest Roads

How to make travel through the Idaho Panhandle as safe as possible. Details on road types, traffic rules, and some driving safety tips.

Prescribed Fire Information 

Prescribed fire on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests is used to provide a variety of benefits including reduced risk of catastrophic wildfire and improved forest health. This link provides information on planned fires and related safety.

Guarding Against Giardia

Backcountry streams and lakes, although clear and clean in appearance, often harbor a hidden danger. Giardiasis can cause extreme discomfort, and can persist for many months.

Safety in Bear Country

How to avoid attracting bears, hiking safely in bear country, and what to do if you encounter a bear.

IPNF Avalanche Center

Provides access to the latest backcountry conditions report, information on avalanche awareness workshops, and links to other avalanche websites

Food Storage Requirements

A new food storage order enacted in October 2011 requires food storage practices on the Bonners Ferry, Priest Lake, and portions of the Sandpoint Ranger District to reduce the potential for human-wildlife conflicts.