Friday, 12 July 2024

Officials urge hunters, visitors to be aware in the Mendocino National Forest

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – With rifle season starting this weekend, the Mendocino National Forest is reminding hunters and visitors to be aware of their surroundings.


The Yuki and Sanhedrin Wilderness Areas, established in 2006, contain Mendocino National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. Visitors and hunters are encouraged to become familiar with the new boundaries.


To help with this, agency representatives will be available to distribute maps and wilderness information at stations near the boundary.


The establishment of the Yuki and Sanhedrin Wilderness Areas also added land to the Snow Mountain Wilderness, specifically additions to the State Game Reserve. Hunters should be aware of areas where wildlife is protected.


Wilderness areas can be accessed on foot or by horseback for a variety of recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. Motor vehicles and other wheeled transportation, including bikes and deer carts, are not allowed in wilderness areas.


The Mendocino National Forest is still under fire restrictions. Campfires are only allowed with a California Campfire Permit in campfire rings in designated campgrounds. Permit holders are also allowed to use lanterns or portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel in other areas of the forest.


While it hasn’t been an active fire season on the forest, there is still a significant risk of wildfire until fire season ends with drenching rains. Hunters and visitors are asked to be aware of areas that have burned in the past few years, specifically in wilderness areas.


There is inherent risk in any outdoor activity. Visitors should be aware of the challenges associated with recreating in wilderness areas, including:


  • Falling dead trees or tree branches – commonly known as snags – especially in windy conditions. Note that trees in burned areas may still look alive, but could be unstable after being burned.

  • Weak and unstable spots on the forest floor from burned out stumps and roots.

  • Slippery conditions from ash, needles, and other debris, particularly when wet.

  • Flash floods and mudslides in burned areas without vegetation.


Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions, including temperature fluctuations and the potential for precipitation, especially at higher elevations.


Campsites should be located away from burned areas, areas that may be subject to falling or rolling debris or trees, or beneath cliffs or steep slopes. Visitors are also asked to help protect forest resources by remaining on designated roads. Motor vehicle use maps are available for the Mendocino National Forest.

When planning a trip to the forest, it is recommended that you tell somebody where you are going, when you are leaving and when you plan on being back. Also, bring plenty of food, water and clothing for conditions.


The harvest season for illegally grown marijuana coincides with deer season. Visitors are asked to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.


For additional safety, hunters and those accompanying them are encouraged to wear orange to prevent accidental shootings.


Other recreational visitors are encouraged to wear brightly colored clothing visible from a distance as well for safety.


For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest Grindstone Ranger District at 530-934-3316, Upper Lake Ranger District at 707-275-0676, Covelo Ranger District at 707-983-8004 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino .

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