Safe Winter Recreation & Volunteerism
VALLEJO, Calif., Jan. 13, 2023 — With record-breaking snow and rain throughout the state, anyone visiting California’s national forests should plan for winter road conditions.
• Know before you go — Check the weather for your destination. Pay attention to road conditions, chain control, and possible road closures en route. Use Caltrans QuickMap versus alternate routes suggested by travel apps and map services. They may not show the current situation. You could get lost or stuck.
• Be prepared — Check tire tread and pressure. Top off windshield fluid. Pack tire chains, ice scraper, an extra blanket, and provisions for an emergency.
• Stay safe when skiing and snowboarding — Know the weather and facility operating status before heading out. Check out Ski California’s mountain safety guide for a refresher.
• Be avalanche aware — Backcountry users should take extra precautions. Carry avalanche equipment, travel in groups if possible, and check avalanche reports. Helpful resources include Eastern Sierra Avalanche Forecast, Sierra Avalanche Center for Lake Tahoe area, and Mount Shasta Avalanche Center.
The USDA Forest Service also invites everyone to embrace volunteerism on Monday, Jan. 16, which is also a fee-free day on most day-use sites. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service, to encourage volunteers to improve their communities.
If you’re in the Lake Tahoe area, consider helping at the 2023 Winter Trek program at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Led by Forest Service rangers and community volunteers, Winter Trek is a 5th grade conservation education program where students snowshoe while learning about winter animal adaptation, ecology, and Lake Tahoe’s watershed. Volunteers receive training, a uniform, and a daily gondola ticket when working.
Program starts Jan. 23 and continues every Monday and Wednesday through March, weather permitting. To volunteer for the Winter Trek Program, please complete the online form.
For other volunteer opportunities in national forests, visit AmeriCorps’ United We Serve.