A beginner's guide to the Bighorn National Forest

By Sara Evans Kirol US Forest Service

The Bighorn National Forest has been experiencing high visitor use this summer. Much of this use is from local or regional visitors that have been coming to the area for years. However, many of our visitors are here for the first time or for the first time on any national forest.

With the high use combined with new users, we have noticed an uptick in resource issues. These issues include the lack of compliance with fire restrictions and abandoned campfires. The use of fireworks has been reported along with the illegal dumping of garbage and human waste in dispersed camping areas. This all adds up to a lot of resource damage and potential human health and safety problems.

We have been receiving questions such as “How do I camp in a campground?” “Is the water in the creeks safe to drink?” “What should a person bring on a hiking trip?” We are grateful to the people that take the time to ask us these questions. We encourage them to purchase maps of the area, review our website for any changes in regulations or alerts, and to visit with us about the trip they are about to embark. This planning will improve the visitor’s experience along with preventing impacts that could have been avoided with a little knowledge.

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