11:11am

Fri May 27, 2011
Outdoor recreation

Summer Recreation Season Begins in National Forests

Thousands are expected to kick off summer season in the Rocky Mountains this Memorial Day weekend.  And the U.S. Forest Service wants visitors to be aware of potential dangers.

Many areas are still under a lot of snow because of late-season storms and cooler temperatures. That’s exciting for snowshoers and cross-country skiers - but it also raises concerns about avalanches.

“There have been several incidents just in the last week. And we get into, now, a season where we have these wet slab avalanches that are extremely dangerous and can slide without much warning at all,” says Janelle Smith, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region.  “We’re encouraging visitors to just be aware, understand those dangers, check conditions before they go, and be prepared for just about anything.”

Smith also cautions campers and hikers to stay vigilant about wildfires – especially in the southeastern part of the state, which hasn’t seen the recent rain and snow that northern Colorado has gotten.  And she advises people to be aware of the danger of falling trees when camping or picnicking in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle.  More than 33 million people visit the Rocky Mountains each year.