Forest Road Survival Guide

A truck loaded down with timber is driving down a forest road
Do you know what to do when you see a logging truck driving toward you on a single-lane road? Be aware ahead of time by keeping your windows rolled down and your music off so you can pull off to the side in a designated pull out. Photo: DNR

As the beautiful fall colors light up the forest, many outdoor enthusiasts put on their orange vests and head out to hunt, hike, or just enjoy the scenery on Department of Natural Resources (DNR) managed lands. Before you head out, make sure you know the rules of the road so you and others stay safe this weekend.

Many of DNR’s forest roads are unpaved with little traffic which causes drivers to forget that these roads are shared with dirt bikes, hikers, equestrian riders, and large logging trucks. To keep everyone safe, we have come up with a short guide on what to look out for this weekend.  

  1. Obey the rules of the road – Though it may seem like you are out in the middle of nowhere, the rules of the road still apply. Why? It signals to others (that you may or may not be aware of) what behavior to expect from you. Also, driving intoxicated with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit is still illegal and very dangerous. Have questions? Check out the rules here.
  2. Logging trucks – Most of DNR’s recreation sites are on state trust lands where timber harvests and leasing activities generate revenue for trust beneficiaries, including local schools. What does this mean for you? A loaded logging truck approaching on a one-lane forest road can be a real scare. If you hear or see one, pull off to the side of the road in a designated pull out.
    Helpful Hint: Drive with your windows rolled down and music off so you will be able to hear trucks approaching. If you have a CB radio, monitoring channels are often posted as you enter a logging area.

    Recreation trails sometimes crossforest roads. Drive slowly and be aware of off-road vehicles, hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders on the road. Photo: Luis Prado, DNR
  3. Recreation trails sometimes cross the road…and are not always visible. Drive slowly and be aware of off-road vehicles, hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders on the road.
  4. Obey road closures – Roads and trails are closed for a variety of reasons, which may include unsafe conditions or environmental reasons. If a road is closed, please follow detour signs.
  5. Check for closures before you head out – DNR’s website lists the latest recreation site closures. This year, we have a special Hunting Alert that lists hunting areas affected by closures and fire danger.
  6. Discover Pass – Your Discover Pass purchase gives you access to millions acres of state-managed recreation lands. Make sure you have yours before you go. Your purchase directly supports recreation (including hunting) on state lands.

As you ‘hit the road’ this weekend, remember to have fun and be safe.

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