Hiking tips

Los Padres National Forest offers tips for visitors

Los Padres National Forest officials remind visitors to be mindful of hot weather and to practice responsible recreation.

Alicia Sanchez-Scott, Assistant Forest Recreation Officer, offered the following tips for improving recreational experiences:

Plan ahead. Book a campsite for your trip through recreation.gov. Scattered camping opportunities are limited. Contact one of the forest’s Visitor Information Specialists ahead of time to find out about local conditions and restrictions. Hikers and scattered campers who do not have access to garbage cans and restrooms should pack up all trash, including human and animal waste.

Think safety. Hike with a friend when possible, and time your hikes before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the hottest temperatures of the day. Bring plenty of water to ensure you stay hydrated and remember to take regular breaks in shaded areas.

Be dressed properly. Wear light, loose clothing and sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Use sunscreen on exposed skin and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face from direct sunlight.

Respect your public lands. Stay on designated trails, respect other visitors, and leave the areas you visit in better condition than you found them. Although dogs are welcome on public land, you should clean up after them as you would at home.

There have been several unfortunate incidents recently involving dogs in the forest who have suffered from heat-related illnesses, Ms Sanchez-Scott said. She urges people to choose activities that your pet is used to.

And she reminds everyone: 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 summertime tradition that we all look forward to,” Ms. Sanchez-Scott said. “By taking a few simple steps before our visit, we can greatly improve the overall camping and hiking experience on our public lands.”

For more information, visit the public Los Padres website at www.usda.gov/lpnf.

Email: [email protected]