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Hiking in the Carson National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service recommends the following when you go or are planning on going hiking in the Carson National Forest:

Leave No Trace!

Thousands of visitors to Carson National Forest have a tremendous impact on the land. It's up to all of us to minimize our impact, to travel softly, leaving no trace of our visit so that future generations can enjoy the woods and mountains we all love.

Campfires can cause unnecessary signs of human presence and ugly scars on the landscape. Please use a portable stove instead.
If you must have a fire:
  • Use only fallen, dead wood. Don't cut down snags, since animals rely on these for homes.
  • Keep your fire small - clear away duff and forest litter to prevent the fire from spreading. A fire ring isn't necessary!
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • Be sure it's dead out and leave no trace of your fire when you leave.
  • Remember, a candle can be a focus point for a group instead of a campfire!

Pack out everything you pack in. Burying, scattering or burning food scraps will only attract animals and leave a mess for other people.

Human Waste
Dig a hole 5 or 6 inches deep into the humus layer of soil, at least 200 feet from water. 
After use, cover the hole and microorganisms will do the rest.

Stay on the Trail
Stay on the trail to avoid killing vegetation.

Group Size
Keep your group size below 10 people. Larger groups have a much greater impact on the land and on other hiker's enjoyment.

Rules of the Road - What you must know before you go...

Stay on Constructed Roads and Trails!
Wheeled motorized vehicles are required to stay on open constructed roads and trails. Failure to do so will result in a citation and fine! Hundreds of miles of established roads and trails are open for motorized vehicles - use them and stay on them! You will see vehicle tracks that have not stayed on constructed roads and trails - do not follow them. When In doubt about whether or not to follow some tracks, do the right thing, do not follow. Some old roads and trails have been closed for safety or resource problems - If in doubt that a road or trail is open, do not use it. Maps are available that show the open constructed roads and trails. Remember, footprints are welcome everywhere, tire prints should be left on the open roads and motorized trails only!

Obey gate closures and regulatory signs. Some sensitive areas such as meadows, wet areas, stream sides, and steep hillsides have barriers placed to protect them. Respect barriers and do not cross or go around them.

Stay off of Meadows, Steep Hillsides, Stream bands and Lakeshores!
These areas are sensitive and easily damaged from erosion caused by churning wheels and compaction. Ford streams only at constructed crossings. Open meadows are tempting - but don't go across them. Steep hills are tempting - but don't climb them. Stay on constructed roads and trails!!

Stay Away From Wild Animals!
Animals are rearing their young need space and privacy. Interfering my cause the mother to abandon their young. Motorized vehicles scare animals causing them to flee and use scarce energy reserves. View wildlife from a distance. Do not chase wildlife.

Stay Out of Designated Wilderness!
Designated Wilderness is closed to all vehicles including mountain bikes. Know where the boundaries are, respect them and don't cross them!

Respect Other Forest Users!
Please yield to horse and foot traffic! Slow down for other users.

You are responsible and accountable for your behavior. Your continued good judgment, respect for others, and responsible use will ensure that these public roads and trails remain open for continued motorized use. On the other hand, irresponsible use causing resource damage will result in closure of roads and trails.

We want you to enjoy the motorized roads and trails on your National Forest. That's what they are here for. However we also must protect the vast natural resources in the forest. Please help us to do this by following the rules of the road, respecting wildlife and other forest users. Forest Officers frequently patrol roads and trails to ensure compliance with the rules. If you are seen not obeying the rules, the Officers will issue a citation which will require you to go to court or pay a substantial fine.

Please respect and protect your National Forest by following the rules of the road!

Equipment and Safety Needs

Afternoon thundershowers occur frequently over the mountains during the summer. Temperatures can drop drastically. Wool/silk and some synthetics will keep you warm, even when wet. Cotton next to your body will actually take heat away and make you colder. A trash bag can be used as a rain coat. A helmet will keep your head cool in the heat and help hold some warmth in the cold. At high elevations most people sunburn much more quickly; a cap and sun screen are essential. Sun glasses protect eyes from both sun and dust. A handkerchief over the nose can help when the air is very dusty.

First Aid
A pocket sized first aid kit comes in handy for scrapes and bruises.

Helmet, Pads
Traction on forest roads and trails is quite different from pavement, particularly when going downhill. Protect your head. Matches/Knife Matches in a waterproof container and a knife are always a good idea in the backcountry.

Buddy System
Do not travel alone - always take someone with you. If one person becomes hurt the other person can apply first aid and seek help. If you can't take someone with you, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

It is sometimes difficult to hear oncoming traffic when you're riding downhill. Be careful, particularly around curves.

Bike Repair
Be prepared to perform minor repairs on your bicycle - most importantly, be able to change a flat or fix a chain. Take along the right tools. For example bring a chain tool, pump, a tire repair kit and the tools needed to take off the wheels.

Bring a lot of water - more than you think you will need - or bring materials to treat stream water. Please stay on designated trails to avoid trampling native vegetation and minimize potential erosion to trails by not using muddy trails or short-cutting switchbacks.

Please don't disturb the wildlife. Thank you!

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