Medford, Oregon 24 May 2022– As we prepare to honor the heroes who gave their lives in military service to this nation this Memorial Day weekend, the USDA Forest Service is also preparing for an influx of visitors to National Forests. This traditional kickoff of the summer season is a chance to highlight the importance of water safety and the importance of Know Before You Go.
- Check the Interactive Visitor Map for alerts on sites and trails. Have alternative destinations in mind in case you arrive at an area that is closed or overcrowded.
- Be aware of existing Forest closures, restrictions, and alerts.
- Know current and predicted weather conditions at your destination.
- Don’t rely entirely on your smartphone to get you where you need to go: Travel with hard copy maps if you’re not familiar with the area you’re visiting.
- Practice Leave No Trace ethics no matter where you visit, including packing out what you pack in, respecting wildlife, and properly burying human waste.
May is Water Safety Month, and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is encouraging visitors to plan ahead before visiting public lands. Many popular campgrounds and hiking trails are adjacent to lakes and rivers, where water conditions can change rapidly. Practice these helpful water safety tips as part of your trip planning:
- Know before you go: Check the weather forecast and water conditions.
- Know how to swim: Cold water can be dangerous, even on warm days. Learning to swim is the No. 1 water safety priority.
- Take life jackets and essential gear: Life jackets are affordable and easy to find. Loaners are often not available on-site. Pack essential gear for boats or vessels, like navigation devices and paddle floats.
- Designate a water watcher: Select someone to watch over the group, especially young children, when near or in the water.
- Learn how to respond: If someone is in trouble, call 911 and get help. To assist: Reach, Throw, Don’t Go. If you are in trouble: Flip, Float, Relax.
- Respect water: Water can be powerful. Obey posted safety signs. Learn to read water conditions and stay alert. Tell someone your plans before heading out.
- Leave your site cleaner than you found it: All water sources are connected and home to fish and other life. Protect our waters, and pack out what you pack in.
“As the weather warms up and more people visit our public lands, waterways and lakes, we hope people plan for safety in the water and on land. Everyone plays an important role in keeping our forests and waterways safe and clean for those who come after us,” said Chamise Kramer, Public Affairs Specialist for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.