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SOLVANG, Calif.— The summer months traditionally attract the largest number of visitors to America’s public lands. This is also a time when rising temperatures can pose potential risk to campers and hikers from heat-related illnesses that prevent the body from properly cooling down.
Los Padres National Forest officials are reminding forest visitors to Recreate Responsibly and to be mindful of current conditions and the potential for high summer temperatures. Assistant Forest Recreation Officer Alicia Sanchez-Scott offered the following tips that can enhance recreation experiences on the Forest.
Plan ahead – reserve a campsite for your trip through Recreation.gov as dispersed camping opportunities are limited. Contact one of the Forest visitor information specialists ahead of time to ask about local conditions and restrictions. Hikers and dispersed campers who do not have access to trash receptacles and bathrooms must pack out all refuse to include human and pet waste.
Think Safety – hike with a friend when possible and schedule your hikes before 10 am and after 4 pm to avoid the warmest temperatures of the day. Bring lots of water to ensure you stay hydrated and remember to take regular breaks in shady areas.
Dress appropriately – wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing along with sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Use sunscreen on exposed skin and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face from direct sunlight.
Respect Your Public Lands – stay on designated trails, be considerate of your fellow visitors, and leave the areas you visit in better condition than you found them. While dogs are welcome on public lands, you should clean up after them just as you would back home. There have been several unfortunate incidents recently involving dogs on the Forest that have suffered heat-related illnesses – please choose activities that your pet is physically accustomed to. And never leave a dog inside a parked vehicle even with all the windows down.
“For many of us, spending time in Los Padres and other public lands is a summer tradition we all look forward to,” Sanchez-Scott said. “By taking just a few simple steps ahead of our visit we can greatly improve the overall experience of camping and hiking on our public lands.”
For more information, visit the Los Padres public website at www.usda.gov/lpnf or call one of our visitor information assistants.