UKIAH – (Press release from the Umatilla National Forest)
Umatilla National Forest officials ask forest visitors to use caution, plan ahead, and know the weather and forest conditions before heading out into the woods.
Fall weather can be unpredictable and is a busy time of year on the Umatilla National Forest. Hunting is a primary activity during this time and the Forest may be implementing its prescribed burn program. Prior to heading to the woods, forest officials encourage the public to always contact your local district office, always check the weather, have a planned route and ensure that the area is accessible by knowing what closures or restrictions are in place. Whenever possible, travel in pairs. Always bring extra clothing, food and water, and make sure that someone knows where you are going, that they also have your planned route, and when you will be returning from your trip. Carry a map and don’t rely on your cell phone as many areas on the Forest don’t have service.
Following the recent prescribed burning this fall, forest visitors should also be cautious when entering a recently burned area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees) or hot ash pits that may not be visible above the surface. Forest officials ask that visitors do not camp or linger in a burned area. Dead or dying trees that remain standing after a fire are unstable, especially in high winds. Loose rocks and logs can be present in a burned area and are unpredictable, creating a falling a hazard.
Some roads may be seasonally closed due to wildlife or other resource concerns. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) display the open and seasonally open road system on the Umatilla National Forest. MVUMs are free and can be picked up at any Umatilla National Forest office or downloaded from the forest website. Motorized cross-country travel is prohibited under the forest’s travel management plan.
“We encourage forest users to responsibly enjoy their National Forest roads and trails. Responsible use will not only avoid damage of the resources, but also ensure that there are future riding opportunities across the Forest,” said Eric Watrud, Umatilla National Forest Supervisor.
More information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.