Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring brings hazardous Conditions to Forest

SALT LAKE CITY, May 25, 2010 – Spring is a great time to visit Utah’s backcountry and wilderness areas. Residents and visitors can take advantage of the recreation opportunities available on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, which is within a short drive of urban population centers. Forest officials are advising visitors to use extra caution for the next several weeks while recreating on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This year’s wet spring has resulted in numerous hazards across the Forest. Important visitor safety guidelines are listed below:

Parents: watch your children and pets – swift water is a natural but potentially deadly magnet for curious youngsters and pets

Don't wade across cold, swift water – fast-moving water can be deceivingly dangerous especially anglers

Stay off unstable stream banks – added weight can unexpectedly cause them to collapse

Avoid walking on iced-over lakes and streams – rapidly thinning ice may be hidden by a layer of snow

Be aware of wet soils on steep slopes – may produce falling rocks that are dangerous for both hikers and vehicles

Watch out for weakening snow bridges – especially a concern for snowmobilers at stream crossings

Stay out of avalanche-prone areas – avalanche hazards remain considerable in many areas

In addition to hazards to humans, the wet weather has created potentially damaging conditions for forest resources. Trails and roads are particularly vulnerable. To protect at-risk roads and trails from unnecessary rutting and erosion, wheeled-vehicles and horses are prohibited on many Forest roads. Please call your local Ranger District for details.

As the ground begins to thaw and rain and melting snow saturate the ground hiking trails become especially muddy. Keep these considerations in mind:

Trailheads maybe dry, but you may run in to increasing mud and snow the higher you climb.

Never hike alone, if you have a cell phone take it with you.

Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return

Wear the Proper Clothing

Always Pack Food and water

Always Carry a First Aid Kit

With spring in Utah outdoor enthusiasts, traveling in the canyons this time of year could result in an unpleasant encounter with these hungry hitchhikers. Moisture from spring rains and snowmelt creates perfect living conditions for ticks.

Avoid areas where ticks and their food sources are abundant, i.e., grassy and bushy areas along the edges of woodlands and fields, from March to mid-July.

Use tick repellant on clothing to provide for protection for the amount of time you are outdoors.

Keep ticks off your skin. Wear long pants and tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily.

Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks daily.

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