With the start of the big game hunting season, U.S. Forest Service officials are reminding hunters and recreationists that current weather conditions are creating wet and muddy roads and trails.
Forest users are urged to use caution while traveling. Driving on wet or muddy roads can cause erosion, reduce water quality, and increase hazardous conditions for other users, officials said. Check with the local ranger district offices to obtain the most current information about road and trail conditions.
Forest users are reminded to follow “Tread Lightly” principles: travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted, stay on designated routes, and avoid streams, lake shores, meadows, muddy roads, trails and steep hillsides.
Hunters and other forest users should obtain Motor Vehicle Use Maps, displaying routes that are designated open to motorized vehicles. Some roads and trails could close early, due to inclement weather conditions, officials said. Hunters and other users may be asked to leave these areas in the event of an early closure. Motorized vehicles are not allowed off-designated roads and trails to retrieve game.
Camping in undeveloped areas is allowed for 14 days within a 30-day consecutive period in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Campers must move from forest lands after reaching the 14-day limit. This includes all camping equipment, such as tents, chairs, ATVs, ATV trailers, etc.
Hunter safety tips from the forest service:
• Check weather reports before departing for your trip.
• Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
• Be familiar with the area you plan to hunt.
• Carry a basic survival kit and be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay.
• Dress properly and be prepared for changes in weather conditions.
• Check hunting equipment before and after each outing, and maintain it properly.
• Be alert when hunting near developed areas and trails. Other recreationists are enjoying the Forest.
• Your cell phone may save your life, but don’t count on it. Many areas of most forests are not within signal range.
• Learn to recognize potentially dangerous situations and know when to turn around.
If you are planning to bring livestock on National Forest System lands, remember that only certified weed free straw, hay or pellets are permitted to avoid the spread of invasive weeds.
Check with local Forest Service offices where you plan to visit to obtain current road, trail, and campground conditions. Offices include:
• Ashley National Forest: 435-789-1181 http://www.fs.usda.gov/ashley/
• Dixie National Forest: 435-865-3700 http://www.fs.usda.gov/dixie
• Fishlake National Forest: 435-896-9233 http://www.fs.usda.gov/fishlake
• Manti-Lasal National Forest: 435-637-2817
• Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest: 801-999-2103