Outdoor Safety & Ethics

Naturally occurring asbestos can pose a health risk if disturbed and asbestos fibers are released into the air. Asbestos is typically found in ultramafic rock formations that are present in every California county.

Sudden Oak Death - An aggressive disease called "Sudden Oak Death" (SOD) is killing our native oaks in many areas along the California coast, including Big Sur.

Warning! Dead trees or trees weakened by Sudden Oak Death have been known to topple suddenly and without warning. Be on the lookout, when visiting coastal California for trees that for trees that may be affected!

Beware of Yellow Jackets! 
These flying insects, also called "meat bees" (and several other less flattering names), are quite common in the forest. They can be very aggressive toward people, particularly during the middle of their summer nesting season. They nest in the ground. Sometimes the vibration from people hiking or riding nearby is enough to stir them up. They have been known to pick out one target from among several people. They can bite/sting repeatedly. It hurts! Watch for concentrations close to the ground and try to avoid them. The Forest Service does not remove yellow jacket nests except when they are causing a problem in a highly developed recreation facility. Otherwise, they are part of the backcountry experience!

Hunter Safety

The following rules apply when hunting in Los Padres National Forest:

  • No discharging of a firearm within 150 yards of a dwelling or other building, campground, recreation site or other occupied area.
  • No discharging of a firearm on or across a National Forest System Road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
  • Hunting on private land requires permission from the landowner.
  • All Federal, State and local laws apply to hunters on Federal land.


Year-round Safety

The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for the trip. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, limitations of your body, plus a little common sense can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

More Information

  • SAFETY ADVISORY Link opens in a Pdf Document
    A safety advisory has been posted for the Dry Canyon area of northern Ventura County warning the public about the possible presence of unexploded military ordnance.

    Accidents happen. Knowing where you might need to go in case of an emergency is important in preparing for any trip.

    All travel and recreation activities pose a certain degree of risk to the participants. Orienting yourself to local emergency facilities before you travel can help prevent confusion and save precious time in the event of an accident or medical emergency.

    Remain Calm.
    Call 911.

    In the case of a medical emergency where immediate help is required, Call 911. Emergency operators will dispatch necessary personnel to assist you. Be prepared to give them the phone number you are calling from, the victim's location, the nature of the injury or accident and information about the victim or victims and their status.

    Stay on the line and do not hang up! If possible, have someone help guide emergency personnel to the victim's location by making themselves visible near the entrance or crossroads to the location.

    Remember that the Forest is remote. Emergency response times will be longer than those in an urban setting. It is a good idea to always carry First Aid supplies and be certified by your local American Red Cross in Advanced First Aid and CPR.