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Respect the River/Rio — Recreationists

Traveling with Stock

Illustration of campsite with horse and trailerWe value public land for a variety of uses, among them the opportunity to take ourselves and our stock into a natural setting. Here are some tips on how to protect and preserve public land for future generations.

Tips for crossing streams

Use established trails and stream crossings to protect fish and fish habitat.

If you can't find an established crossing, here's how to choose a fish-friendly crossing place:

Aerial view of river pool showing to avoid crossing in as area where water exits the poolPerson holding gravel between 1/3 and four inches where salmon spawn

Step 1.

Avoid crossing at riffle crests, where water flows out of a pool. Salmon and trout often spawn in these areas.

Step 2.

Check the river bottom. Avoid wading where gravel looks bright and clean and is the right size for spawning (1/3" to 4" in diameter). These are clues that fish have spawned there!

Tips for camping with stock

Camp in established horse camps when available. They offer convenient, fish-friendly places to feed, water, and tie your stock.

If you camp in other areas, follow these tips:

  • Protect soil and vegetation: keep stock, campsites and vehicles at least 200 feet from rivers, streams, or wetlands.
  • Move electric-fence corrals frequently.
  • Prevent stream bank erosion. Water stock in rocky areas.
  • Insect sprays can be toxic to fish. Use buckets to bathe horses away from the stream.
  • Prevent damage to tree bark and roots by tying stock to highlines at least 8 feet from trees.

Drawing illustrating keeping stock, campsites and vehicles at least 200 feet from waterDrawing illustrating watering stock in rocky areasDrawing illustrating tieing stock to highlines at least 8 feet from trees

Please see Camping and Picnicking for additional information.

Pack it in, pack it out


U.S. Forest Service
Last modified: April 12, 2012

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