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US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.
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Safety - Outdoor Safety

You are here: Safety > Outdoor Safety


The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for the trip. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, limitations of your body, plus a little common sense can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Hiking Precautions

  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return
  • Read all trail head signs and follow local regulations
  • Stay on the trail
  • Hike in groups
  • Don't hike in the dark
  • Leave pets at home. Pets may attract bears and mountain lions. If dogs are permitted, keep them on a short leash so they don't bother wildlife.
  • Carry EPA registered bear pepper spray when hiking and camping in bear country
  • Keep children within your sight

Camping Precautions

  • Set up cooking, eating and supply areas at least 100 yards from your sleeping area.
  • Use bear resistant food containers, where available or required, to store food and odorous items when not in use
  • Keep sleeping bags and tents completely free of food, beverages, and odorous items
  • Do not sleep in the clothes you cook or handle fish and game in. The odors may attract wildlife.
  • Keep a flashlight and bear pepper spray readily available

For additional safety information, specific to recreation, please see our recreational safety pages.



US Forest Service
Last modified March 28, 2013
http://www.fs.fed.us

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