Public Safety Information
To protect you and your family while visiting public lands, we offer a few safety reminders. Knowledge of the outdoor environment, along with proper planning, will ensure that your visit to public lands is a safe and enjoyable one.
When visiting public lands, whether to recreate, to cut wood, to pick pine nuts or to cut a Christmas tree, you will probably travel on a number of unimproved roads. Be aware that you may need specially equipped vehicles, such as 4x4s, to gain access to some areas. Always carry a shovel, tow chain, hand tools, water and a bucket in the vehicle with you. Take time to plan your trip by knowing the roads and road conditions. Be alert to the weather which may rapidly change some road conditions, particularly where roads are in clay type soil, deeply rutted, or otherwise unimproved. Your pre-trip planning will help ensure a safe return home.
Here are a few safety reminders:
- Be sure to leave instructions with a responsible person on exactly where you are going and when you will be returning. Also, leave information about the vehicle you are driving (color, model, license number).
- It is always safer to travel with a companion.
- Carry a compass and keep a map of the local area handy, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. If you do become lost, or your vehicle breaks down, stay where you are and do not leave your vehicle. Save your energy and provisions -- let rescuers find you.
- Always wear proper clothing. Boots and layered clothing protect you from possible injury and the elements.
- Emergency supplies such as waterproof matches, a flashlight, extra food, water, a first aid kit, a knife, blankets, and a light plastic tarp or a white 30 gallon trash bag can be used as a poncho or a ground panel for aircraft to spot. A piece of tinfoil can make a hat, a collector for water, or a signal mirror.
- Campfires may be built on public lands in accordance with local fire regulations. Never start a fire with flammable liquids. Water and a shovel should always be part of your gear.
- When cutting firewood, or a tree: if you are using a chain saw, you should always wear boots, goggles, a hardhat, chaps, and gloves and your chain saw must have a spark arrestor. If you are using an ax, always wear gloves and eye protection.
- Garbage. Remember: "If you pack it in, pack it out."
- Ticks. In the Western United States, the ixodes tick or deer tick carries Lyme Disease. The wood or dog tick carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The best prevention for avoiding tick bites is to tuck your pant legs into your socks and tuck your shirt into your pants. At the end of each day, inspect your clothes, head, and body thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the armpits, behind the ears, and in the navel and groin areas.
- Always remember when you are out in the country that you are sharing it with various forms of wildlife, including rattlesnakes and scorpions. Always be aware of your surroundings and watch where you're walking.
- Abandoned mines. Stay out and stay alive! Abandoned mines may contain bad air, rattlesnakes, or vertical shafts and could cave in at any time.
- Hazardous Materials. Sometimes hazardous materials such as old dynamite or chemicals are dumped or abandoned on public lands. If you find any suspicious boxes or containers, leave them alone, and notify BLM or local authorities. Old dynamite can be extremely unstable and some chemicals can be toxic to touch or breathe.
- Geothermal Sites. Some springs can be extremely hot and should be avoided to prevent being scalded. Young children should be watched especially around hot springs.
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable visit.