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Poppies and lupine along the Kings River - photo credit Stephanie Barnes, High Sierra Ranger District

The Dangers And Delights Of Visiting The Forest This Weekend

CLOVIS – With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, a visit to the Sierra National Forest (SNF) will be celebrated by visitors for what is often seen as the first weekend of summer recreation.

Activities such as camping, backpacking, boating and picnicking in the great outdoors will be enjoyed by visitors from across California and beyond.

With the current weather forecast, it seems we are still enjoying winter in the Sierra as this past weekend’s storm has brought additional snow to the higher elevations which will delay some area openings, and more rain is predicted over the Memorial Day weekend.

For those still planning on that great outdoor adventure with friends and family, the SNF would like everyone to remember these important safety steps while traveling this Memorial Day holiday in the forest:

Hazard Tree Awareness:

• The Sierra National Forest continues to experience extensive tree mortality.

• While a great deal of work has been accomplished, dead and dying trees remain.

• “Look Up, Look Down, Look Around” before parking or setting up camp.

• Drive cautiously. Watch for road hazards including trees that have fallen during the winter and recent storms.

Camping:

• Check at Visitor Centers for more information.

• If campfires are allowed, obtain a campfire permit from any forest office or online at www.preventwildfireca.org.

• Clear the grass, leaves and other debris within five feet of campfire or BBQ.

• Have a responsible person in attendance at all times.

• Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving.

• When barbecuing, never leave the grill unattended.

• Children near open flame should always be supervised by a responsible adult

Water Sports:

The water temperature will be extremely cold and running swiftly, due to snowmelt and run-off. As inviting as the water seems on a hot day it can be very dangerous. Cold water can cause hypothermia to set in quickly and overwhelm even the strongest of swimmers, becoming too weak to escape.

Here are a few tips to follow, for you to recreate in or around water on the Sierra National Forest responsibly:

• Check river and stream conditions before heading out on your adventure and always let someone know where you are going and when you will return.

• Inquire about swimming regulations. At some recreation sites swimming is not recommended or may even be prohibited. Follow “No Swimming” signs.

• Where allowed, choose swimming areas carefully. Often hazards are not visible in what may seem like a good place to swim or wade.

• Wear a properly fitting personal flotation device (life jacket) for all river activities. Don’t assume you have the swimming skills to keep you afloat, even the strongest swimmers not be a match for water conditions.

• When near rapids or other moving water, always stay on the established trails or developed areas.

• Keep a close watch on children even if they are far from the water. Water safety for children is especially important as they can quickly enter the water when your attention is diverted for only a moment.

• Don’t walk, play or climb on slippery rocks and logs near rivers and streams.

• Don’t swim or wade upstream from a waterfall, even if the water appears shallow or calm.

• Be cautious of sudden drop offs. If you fall in, don’t panic turn on to your back point your feet downstream and on the surface (can you see your toes?). If you are on the shore, always try to rescue from the shore and have someone call 911 to get help.

For more tips on swimming safely in rivers, lakes and streams, go to the following link provided by the American Red Cross.

For more tips on boating safely, check the National Safety Council on boating site.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online