Forest visitors reminded to use care, be safe
Dec. 6, 2012 — Christmas tree cutters and other visitors to the Lassen National Forest (Forest) are reminded to tread lightly and practice caution during their excursions to the forest.
The recent heavy rains have left many forest roads saturated so visitors must use care to avoid causing resource damage, such as creating ruts in the road with vehicle tires. Keep in mind dirt roads that seem firm early in the day can become impassable later in the day if they thaw. Getting stuck in the mud not only causes environmental damage, it can also ruin an outing.
Christmas tree cutting locations, especially in the higher elevations, can become inaccessible when storms hit. Favorite tree-cutting areas are often at these higher elevations, where fir trees grow. Winter visitors are advised to slow down, and to carry chains whenever stormy weather is possible. Visitors should also remain alert for rock or mudslides, downed trees and icy conditions. If area conditions are too wet or appear unsafe, it’s best to avoid the area.
“Winter driving requires us all to be extra cautious, especially when traveling on the gravel and dirt roads found throughout the Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Jerry Bird.
By planning accordingly and taking a few precautions, visitors can help ensure a positive experience, as well as help prevent unnecessary impacts to natural resources. Individuals who are caught causing resource damage could be prosecuted, fined and/or jailed. In addition, they could have to pay restitution costs for restoring damaged areas.
Since weather and road conditions may change at any time, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and road conditions before embarking on any trip. Information on highway conditions may be obtained by calling (800) 427-ROAD (7623). Preplanning should also include leaving a copy of your planned route and itinerary with a friend, neighbor or family member.
Visitors to the forest are urged to pack a winter storm survival kit. A good kit consists of a first aid kit, extra clothing and blankets, extra food and water, a fire-starting mechanism and cooking pot, a cell phone or two-way radio and a tool kit. Tool kits should contain jumper cables, a tow-rope, a flashlight and a shovel. Vehicles should be fully fueled and in top mechanical condition.
In the event that you do get stranded, do not panic. The person with whom you left your information should notify the authorities. You should remain with your vehicle since it’s much easier to find a vehicle in the forest than a person on foot. The vehicle will also provide some shelter. While waiting for help to arrive, signal your distress by using emergency flashers and tying a handkerchief or flagging on the antenna or mirror. Be sure to keep the tailpipe clear while periodically running the engine for warmth.
For more information about conditions and activities on the Lassen, call:
Supervisor’s Office, Susanville — 257-2151
Eagle Lake Ranger District, Susanville — 257-4188
Almanor Ranger District, Chester — 258-2141
Hat Creek Ranger District, Fall River Mills — 336-5521
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