Ten Springtime Outdoor Safety Tips

That first warm and sunny day of the spring practically begs us to run outside and hit the trail again. As everything turns green and wildflowers shout their colors, spring can be one of the most exciting times to explore our National Forests.

Regardless if this is your 50th or 5th spring hitting the trails or finding the perfect early season camp spot, it’s always a good idea to review safety.

Spring weather is fickle. The day may start out clear and sunny and before you know it, snow is falling. Be sure to pack extra layers of clothing, including socks. Is there anything worse than cold, wet feet?

Heading up into the mountains? You’ll most likely encounter snow. And where there is snow in the mountains, avalanches are always a risk. Check your local avalanche forecast before heading out.

In a word, spring hiking is wet. Rivers may be low in the morning, but can be high by afternoon and roads are muddy. Snow is melting and rain is often falling. Be wary of wet surfaces, stream crossings and muddy roads. Be especially wary of rising waters and flash floods. Warm spring days and spring storms can cause very sudden rises in water levels.

Pitch your tent well above the highwater mark even if it means a longer walk to the stream, or a slightly less impressive view. If you’re in a campground with designated sites, be sure to think through grabbing that sweet riverfront site. Just because they’re designated, doesn’t mean they’re safe for spring time camping.

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