United States Forest Service
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
This page contains some basic information on the rules for hiking, camping and using the resources of the National Forests that cover much of our canyon country.
As a visitor to the national forests, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the forests and the natural environment, to ensure the health and safety of visitors, and to promote pleasant and rewarding outdoor recreation experiences for all visitors. Forest Officers are empowered to enforce the Federal Regulations that these rules are taken from.
Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors may issue orders that will close or restrict the use of certain areas if the need arises. Such orders will be posted so that visitors to the national forest can reasonably be expected to be familiar with them. Copies of the orders will also be available in the offices of Forest Supervisors and District Rangers.
Information on all permit requirements is available from Forest Service offices. If you have any questions or need help, please contact your nearest Forest Officer or visit the nearest Forest Service office.
Remember to be careful! You are primarily responsible for your own safety. Look out for natural hazards and dangers when you are in the forest. If you hike off trails or swim or dive in streams or lakes, you do so at your own risk.
Check locally for variations and exceptions to these rules and regulations. In general, if the local rules are not posted, following these rules will keep you out of trouble when visiting our forest lands.
- Use picnic sites, swimming beaches, and other day use areas only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
- Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreation purposes. Permanent use or use as a principal residence without authorization is not allowed.
- In campgrounds, camp only in those places specifically marked or provided.
- At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise been granted by the Forest Ranger.
- Do not leave camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from the Forest Ranger. The Federal Government is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.
- Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.
- Obey restrictions on fires. Open fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times.
- Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, build fires only in fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose.
- Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. You are responsible for keeping fires under control.
- Do not carve, chop, cut, or damage any live trees.
- Preserve and protect your national forests. Leave natural areas the way you find them.
- Enter buildings, structures, or enclosed areas in national forests only when they are expressly opened to the public.
- Native American, old cabins, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archaeological value. Do not damage or remove any such historic or archaeological resource.
- Throw all garbage and litter in containers provided for this purpose, or take it with you.
- Garbage containers, when provided, are reserved for the use of visitors to the national forest, not visitors to, or owners of, private lands or lands under permit.
- Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies. Use water faucets only for drawing water.
- Prevent pollutionkeep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes, streams, and other water.
- Use toilets properly. Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances into toilets and plumbing fixtures.
- Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.
- Obey all traffic signs. State traffic laws apply to the national forests unless otherwise specified.
- When operating vehicles of any kind, do not damage the land or vegetation or disturb wildlife. Avoid driving on unpaved roads or trails when they are wet or muddy.
- Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving, unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them. Park only in marked parking areas.
- Do not block, restrict, or interfere with the use of roads or trails.
- Obey area and trail restrictions on the use of trail bikes and other off-the-road vehicles.
- For the health and safety of your pet, as well as that of wildlife, keep pets on a leash. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, so please control your dog. Remember, "Unleashed is unloved." Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites.
- Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas.
- For health reasons, dogs are not allowed on swimming beaches.
- Though you are out in the woods, don't forget to clean up after you dog.
- Do not leave your pet in a closed car. If they must stay behind, be sure to have enough ventilation and water to ensure their safety.
- Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instructions.
- Fireworks and explosives are prohibited in the national forests. Only persons with a permit from the Forest Service may engage in these types of activities.
- Firing a gun is not allowed in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; across or on a road or body of water; or, in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged.
- Motor vehicles and motorized equipment are not allowed in wilderness areas.
- Preserve the wilderness"Leave only footprints, take only pictures."
- You must pay a fee to use certain developed sites and facilities. Such areas are clearly signed or posted as requiring a fee.
- Where fees are required, you must pay them before using the site, facility, equipment, or service furnished.
- No fighting or boisterous behavior.
- Keep noise at a reasonable level. Please be considerate of fellow visitors.
- Permits are required for any commercial activity.
- Operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it does not disturb other visitors.
- A permit is required for operating a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.
- Rules for Visitors to the National Forests
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, Utah; 1999.
American Antiquities Act of 1906
Any person who appropriates, excavates, injures, or destroys any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States shall be fined or imprisoned.
Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979
An Act to protect archaeological resources on public lands and Indian lands, and for other purposes.
National Forest Foundation
Protecting America's backyard.
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