NEWPORT — The U.S. Forest Service reminds visitors to the Croatan National Forest and to other national forests to follow safe and responsible recreation practices while out in the woods.
The USFS issued a public service announcement July 1, reminding national forest visitors that large crowds are common at many recreation areas.
The USFS personnel reminds visitors to “put safety first and recreate responsibly.”
“Please heed warning signs when enjoying outdoor activities and follow safety precautions such as these,” the forest service said, offering the following advice:
- Choose swimming areas carefully and ensure small children are not left unattended. When boating, ensure all passengers wear a life jacket and look out for other boaters and swimmers.
- Weather conditions can change rapidly. Monitor weather before and during outdoor activities.
- Do not feed wildlife, keep a safe distance when encountering wildlife and do not disturb habitat. Clean up food or garbage around your camp or picnic site.
- Stay on marked trails. Don't hike alone. Plan for emergencies, such as becoming lost, and bring along extra food, clothing and water.
- Keep fires small and never leave them unattended. Ensure firepits are cold to the touch before leaving.
- Use caution when driving though areas that are congested.
- Leave fireworks to the professionals. Fireworks are prohibited in developed recreation areas and dangerous in other parts of the forest. Open spaces tend to dry out quickly and fireworks could start a wildfire.
- To ensure a family-friendly environment, alcoholic beverages are prohibited in many areas of the forest, including campgrounds and many day-use sites.
More information on staying safe in all activities in the outdoors is available at the website fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go.
More information on the status of USFS recreation areas and facilities is available at the website fs.usda.gov/goto/currentclosures.