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Caution is key to fall forest conditions


October 3, 2019

Editor’s note:

As hikers, Loyal and I practice the “leave no trace” policy when we hit the trail on public lands and in our national forests. Hunting season is upon us and like recreational visitors, hunters will enter private and forested lands, camping and enjoying the great outdoors while seeking their prized deer or elk. The forest service has shared some helpful tips to make your hunting trip pleasant and rewarding.

Charlotte Baker, Publisher/Editor East Washingtonian

PENDLETON, Ore.–Umatilla National Forest (UNFS) ask hunters and forest visitors to use caution, plan ahead and know the weather and forest conditions before heading out into the woods.

This time of year, weather can be unpredictable in the Umatilla National Forest with hunting as the primary activity in late September into October. The UNFS may be implementing a burn program based on weather and forest conditions.

Prior to heading to the woods, the UNFS asks that you plan ahead by checking the weather forecast and conditions, have a planned route, know what closures and restrictions are in place and contact the local district office for additional information. 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 have no cell coverage.

As the fire season wraps up and the determined fall burn plan implemented, hunters and forest visitors should also be cautious when entering a recently burned areas. It is a good practice to be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees), and do not camp or hang out 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. Additionally, burned vegetation can also contribute to landslides, mudslides and erosion when rain occurs. The ground in a burned area can also be unstable, due to burned-out roots beneath the surface. After soils and vegetation have been charred, rainfall that would normally be absorbed could run off.

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.

The UNFS wants all forest visitors to have a positive and safe experience while recreating on their public lands.

For more information on current forest conditions, please contact the Umatilla National Forest at (541) 278-3716 or visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.

For further information, please contact:

Umatilla National Forest, Supervisor Office (541) 278-3716


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