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Safety & Occupational Health

You are here: Safety & Occupational Health

Safe Visits on National Forests and Grasslands

[image] A picture of a man fishing in a river.

As a visitor to our National Forests and Grasslands, you will find many opportunities to enjoy and explore nature’s creations. Our sites not only include the mighty timberlands, but mountains, hills, lakes, deserts, and the wildlife that inhabit the lands. These areas create great passageways for America’s highways, byways, and backroads leading to great recreation activities. However, because of the large territories that are covered by forest, many unforeseen dangers present unpredictable challenges for our visitors to have a safe visit. The following sections will allow you to examine some of our safety challenges and additional links that will offer extended exploration of the topics.

Around Wildlife

  • You are responsible for your safety and the safety of wildlife. Please help keep wildlife "wild" by not approaching or feeding them.
  • Please do not feed wildlife. Animals that get food from people may become aggressive. Our foods may harm an animal's digestive system or even cause them death.
  • Do not approach wildlife. All wild animals can be dangerous. Alter your route so that you will move away from animals without disturbing them. Do not block an animal's line of travel.
  • Photograph and watch wildlife from observation areas.
  • Use binoculars, spotting scopes and telephoto lenses to minimize stress to animals and to provide a safe viewing distance for you.
  • If an animal approaches you, it is your responsibility to move away and maintain a safe distance.

more  »

Abandoned Mines

The Forest Service manages a large part of the Federal lands across the United States. Much of this land, especially that of the western states, was used historically for mining of metals such as gold, copper, lead, and zinc. Abandoned mines pose a safety risk to the public, increasing the need to make all aware of the dangers of entrance into these areas. more  »

Fire Safety

The USDA Forest Service works relentlessly to manage, suppress, and eliminate the occurrence of wildland fires. This task can be hazardous and demanding, but every effort is given to protect the public, firefighters, inhabitants, natural resources, and property. more  »

Hazardous Material

The National Forest is intended to be a natural beauty for the environment. However, due to commercial uses and illegal uses, the lands can become a dwelling of hazardous waste. Forest Service works to protect the public by identifying and disposing of these materials to prevent harm. more  »

Outdoor and Recreation Safety

Whether you're roughing it in a tent or planning a family outing to a national forest, there are many ways to make sure your experience is fun and safe. Consider the following safety tips when you visit a national forest or national grassland. more  »

Health Safety

Personal health and well being should be a concern of all activities of daily living. This includes those activities that are done for recreational enjoyment. Though often not encountered, there are some health hazards that have potential exposure for those visiting our lands. To become familiar with these hazards, click on the following links for an in depth explanation of the process, potential for exposure, and safety measures. more  »

Tree Safety

[image] A picture of a hazardous tree with a large chunk missing from the trunk area.

All that looks green is not green through and through. A standing tree could have the possibility of causing serious injuries to persons and property. Trees can become hazardous due to significant flaws or structural damages. Every tree will fail over a life span. The Forest Service expends time and energy to gain knowledge of each tree species, site characteristics, and local weather conditions to minimize the risk to our employees, structures, and property. The Forest Service is also involved in timber cutting to provide resources for our nation. Although this service has been executed for many years, there remains a danger to those involved in the procedure.

Visitor Safety

Warnings and preparation can be given for encountering fires, hazardous materials and abandoned mines. However, it is more difficult to predict the behavior of other humans. The National Forests are not exempt from attacks to the public by others visiting the areas. Often our visitors may come in contact with angry, intoxicated, illegal, or armed individuals while visiting our forest. The Forest Service does not tolerate threats or acts of violence against our visitors. more  »

US Forest Service
Last modified March 28, 2013

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.