The following is a news release for the Custer-Gallatin National Forests.
With general hunting season approaching, the Custer Gallatin National Forests remind hunters and forest visitors to stay safe, be careful, and remember that travel management regulations are in place for both Forests.
Both the Custer and Gallatin National Forests have published Motorized Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) that represent the open or designated road and trail systems on both Forests. These free maps are available at local Ranger District offices, at some local businesses, and online at www.fs.fed.us/r1/custer or www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin.
When visiting public lands please remember that people under the age of 18 need to wear a helmet if riding a motorcycle or ATV, that certified weed free feed is required on National Forest System lands, and that food storage regulations are in place for the Gallatin National Forest and the Beartooth Ranger District on the Custer National Forest. Visitors are also asked to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines which include:
· Planning ahead;
· Being prepared for the unexpected;
· Traveling and camping on durable surfaces;
· Disposing of waste properly
· Leaving what you find (except for trash)
· Minimizing campfire impacts; and
· Being considerate of other visitors.
There are no fire restrictions on either Forest; however, some emergency road or trail closures are in effect so please check with your local Ranger District Office before heading out if you have questions.
"It is important to check local conditions, leave a route itinerary with someone at home, be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions and be aware of wildlife activity," said Marna Daley, Custer Gallatin National Forests Public Affairs Officer. "Bear activity continues at lower elevations so remember to carry bear spray and have it readily available, follow food storage regulations, and travel in groups of 3 or more. These simple precautions can help reduce the chances of a negative encounter with a bear."
In Montana, National Forest visitors can report violations at any time to 1-800-TIP-MONT; in South Dakota, call 1-888-OVERBAG. These toll-free numbers are similar to the well-known Crimestoppers program and assist managers in apprehending those who abuse Montana and South Dakota's natural, historic, or cultural resources.