We joined our colleagues at the National Forest Federation for a campaign to encourage community members to be safe and responsible when spending time in our public lands.

The unprecedented number of visitors to public lands has overwhelmed local land agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and they are struggling to keep up with the demand. Due to the high number of visitors, not all restrooms can remain open and trash dumpsters and bins are overfilling. While most visitors may be more accustomed to visiting a city or county park with more maintenance and amenities, the Forest and Monument offer a more wild and untamed experience and with that comes more responsibility on the visitor.

We’re encouraging the public to come prepared for their next visit to the Forest and Monument and we’re offering tips on outdoor preparedness and stewardship. By taking a few steps to plan ahead, visitors can ensure themselves happy memories and help these places stay open, clean, and safe for future visitors, especially during the pandemic.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing to visit a National Forest or Monument. 

  • Don’t assume you will have access to public service amenities such as:
    • Informational/visitor services
    • Available restrooms
    • Public trash/recycling cans
  • Have at least one backup destination in case your first option is too crowded.
  • Bring and wear a mask, especially at the trailhead or when passing other people on a trail or in a picnic area.
  • Use your own restroom prior to visit the Forest as there may not be public restrooms available at your destination.
  • Bring a trash bag to take any trash home with you to dispose of.
  • Bring along any maps, directions or other information you may need during your visit.
  • Take responsibility for your own safety:
    • Check for fire danger or closures before you leave
    • Bring basic first aid supplies
    • Check weather and dress appropriately
  • If there is an emergency or you see a fire, call 911.

Tips (English)

BYOB: BRING YOUR OWN BAG!
Help by taking your trash home! Natural areas don’t have frequent trash pick-up. If left outside, more people follow and wildlife rip bags, eat and scatter trash everywhere.

BATHROOM: GO BEFORE & BE READY
Go at home, because restrooms may not be available. Come prepared with a baggie, toilet paper, sanitizer and learn how to responsibly “poop in the woods” so you don’t leave a mess or health hazard.

COME PREPARED
The agencies in charge of natural areas are often stretched thin, so it won’t be easy to find help. Getting lost or hurt puts you & rescuers at risk. Know where you’re going and bring water, sun protection, maps & directions & the “ten essentials.”

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR SAFETY
• Check for fire danger or closures before you leave
• Bring basic first aid supplies
• Check weather and dress appropriately

AVOID CROWDS & HAVE A PLAN B
Have at least one back-up
destination in case your first
option is too crowded.

WEAR YOUR MASK
Be ready when passing people, especially at the trailhead, on a trail or in a picnic area.

LIMITED PUBLIC SERVICE AMENITIES
Don’t assume you’ll have access to amenities such as:
• Informational and visitor services
• Public restrooms
• Public trash and recycling cans

Tips (Spanish)

¡BIENVENIDOS AL AIRE LIBRE!
Mucha gente está visitando la naturaleza últimamente, pero no se dan cuenta qué es muy diferente afuera en áreas naturales. ¡Se debe ir preparado! Para pasar un buen rato al aire libre, aquí tienes algunos consejos clave:

TTPB: ¡TRAE TU PROPIA BOLSA!
¡Ayuda llevándote tu basura a casa! Las áreas naturales no cuentan con recolección frecuente de basura. Si se deja ahi, más personas hacen lo mismo y los animales en la naturaleza rompen las bolsas, se comen y desparraman la basura por todos lados.

BAÑO: IR ANTES Y ESTAR PREPARADO
Usa el baño en casa porque los baños pueden no estar
disponible. Ven preparado con una bolsita,
papel higiénico, desinfectante y aprende a
responsablemente “hacer del baño en el bosque”
para no contaminar y resulte en un riesgo para la salud.

VEN PREPARADO
Las agencias a cargo de áreas naturales a menudo se encuentran muy ocupados por lo que no será fácil encontrar ayuda. Extraviarse o perderse pone en riesgo a rescatistas y a ti. Conoce los lugares a donde vas y trae agua, protección solar, mapas y direcciones y los “diez elementos esenciales”

HAZTE CARGO DE TU SEGURIDAD
• Averigua si hay peligro de incendio o cierres
antes de que te vayas
• Lleva suministros básicos de primeros auxilios
• Verifica el clima y viste adecuadamente

EVITA GRUPOS GRANDES Y TEN UN PLAN B
Ten por lo menos otro destino como opción en caso de que el primero esté muy lleno de gente.

USA TU MASCARILLA
Ve preparado cuando pases a gente, especialmente en el comienzo de la senda, en un sendero o en un área de picnic.

INSTALACIONES DE SERVICIOS PÚBLICOS LIMITADOS
No asumas que tendrás acceso a instalaciones como:
• servicios de información y para visitantes
• baños públicos
• botes de basura y reciclaje públicos

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