News Alert: Los Padres Forest Issues Safety Pointers for Snow Play Visitors

Los Padres Issues Safety Reminders As Winter Storm Approaches

FRAZIER PARK (Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, 1:20 p.m.) —The U.S. Forest Service has issued these pointers about safety if you are considering traveling to the national forest this weekend for snow play.

GOLETA—With a winter storm approaching, Los Padres National Forest officials are reminding the public to plan accordingly if they intend to visit any of the popular “snow play” recreation areas on the Forest this coming weekend. The storm could bring snow-covered and slippery roads, rock slides, trail washouts, possible flash floods and other hazards.

The Forest strongly encourages visitors to take the appropriate steps to ensure personal safety in the event you or your party become lost or stranded, including:

•Contact the Forest Service office nearest your destination for current conditions. Many forest roads are closed during significant weather events; some are closed for the winter. [Editor’s note: The Chcuhupate station which serves the Mount Pinos area of the Los Padres Forest can be reached at 661-245-3731.]
•Check local weather reports.
•Take a map of the area with you and know how to read it.
•Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel.
•Check your tires and windshield wiper blades.
•If you’re visiting high elevation areas where snow is possible, make sure you have chains.
•Bring an extra set of dry clothes, a warm jacket and hat, gloves, and appropriate footwear.
•Pack extra food and water.
•Bring a flashlight with fresh batteries, a first aid kit, and a shovel. These items could prove critical in the event of a change in weather, a vehicle breakdown, or other unexpected situation.
•Leave your itinerary and expected time of return with a family member or friend.
•If you become lost or injured, stay calm and get out of the wind if possible. Stay put. Do not wander. Searchers have a better chance of finding you faster if you remain near your planned route.
•Cell phones are helpful, but may not work in many areas of the forest.

Visitors are reminded that an Adventure Pass is required for some recreation areas of the forest. With potentially significant snowfall forecast for lower elevations, “snow play” recreation areas such as Mt. Pinos could experience high visitor traffic. The public is advised to drive carefully, always stay on the road, and be aware of oncoming traffic when visibility is reduced. Vehicles should only be parked in areas where they do not block the road.

Editor’s note: On Mount Pinos, vehicles are always to be parked on the downhill side of the road only. Anyone who parks improperly will receive a citation, according to California Highway Patrol. Please do not stop in the middle of the road and be careful not to block traffic in any way.
   "Pack it in, Pack it out," is the slogan for being a good guest to the mountain. Please do not leave anything behind, whether litter or broken sleds or baby diapers. Please leave the mountain in clean condition.

    Also, local restaurants and gift stores in Frazier Park, Lake of the Woods, Pine Mountain and Lebec will be happy to serve you, and to provide hospitality to welcome you during your visit.

This is part of the February 25, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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