Our community has certain standards in regards to the conservation of our environment & ensuring the safety of our town. We have reasonable expectations of our visitors, which are very necessary for their safety & ours. That's what responsible tourism is all about. Responsible tourism is defined as tourism that minimizes negative social, economic & environmental impacts, generates greater economic benefits for local people & enhances the well-being of host communities. Visitors need to be prepared & act responsibly while in the backcountry. A few simple precautions can ensure a safe & pleasurable trip.
The backcountry is remote & rural environment at elevations of up to 6,000 feet. You're likely to get winded much faster than normal at these higher elevations. Be extra careful if doing strenuous activity & drink plenty of water. Allow plenty of time for driving mountain roads and hiking over rugged terrain.
Weather can change quickly up here & sudden storms are common in the summer. Be prepared! Consider taking raingear, a hat, & wearing sturdy shoes or hiking boots.
Snowfall is common in the winter months. The road can become even more dangerous under these conditions. Check the forecast & travel advisory before coming.
High temperatures are common in the summer, but can occur throughout the year. Heat exhaustion & heat stroke can result from continued exposure to high temperatures & inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Adults require two quarts of water per day & four quarts or more for strenuous activity at high elevations.
We have very limited facilities like gas stations & public restrooms. You can't always count on cell service or GPS to be working up here. Use a forest recreation map, topographic maps & guides. Get advice from experienced backcountry travelers.
If you are hiking, backpacking, or exploring at any time of year, take someone with you & make sure someone else knows your exact travel plans.
Safe driving requires alertness. The backcountry road system is different from streets & highways. Road conditions vary & roads are used by a variety of travelers. Licensed high clearance vehicles, recreational vehicles, horseback riders, mountain bikes & hikers are common sights on the back roads.
The route leading up to the backcountry is a single lane windy mountain road. Drive safely & be extra cautious. Make sure you have a full gas tank & that your car is in optimal running condition. If you're driving slower or hauling a trailer for instance, pull over to the side when possible & make way for other passing drivers.
Winter Vehicle Travel - Snow conditions result in closure of some roads & highways over mountain passes. Tire chains may be required. Winter travelers should carry tire chains at all times and be prepared to spend long periods of time in the car. Carry blankets or sleeping bags, a shovel, water, food and other necessities, & travel with a full tank of gas.
To protect the public safety in this very flammable environment, wildfire prevention measures are necessary. The greatest fire danger occurs in the summer & fall, but large fires have burned in every month of the year. Hot, easterly winds, known as Santa Anas, blow with great intensity each year, usually in the fall, but sometimes during the winter & spring months as well. These winds create extremely dangerous fire conditions.
Because of the potential danger from human-caused fires, fire regulations are in effect in the backcountry all year long. Campfires are permitted only within grills & fire rings provided in developed campgrounds & picnic areas. All wood & charcoal fires are forbidden outside of these sites.
Fires are the #1 threat we face up here as a community. We're still recovering from the 2003 Cedar fire that destroyed hundreds of homes & acres of forest. This is a very real threat with life & death consequences. A cigarette butt or even the tiniest spark in the wrong place could ignite a fire that quickly gets out of control.
- Fire regulations are in effect in the backcountry all year long. The rules for open camp fires may vary from place to place. Ask if you don't know.
- Use good judgement. Don't light a fire on a windy day or near potential fuel source.
- Any open fire must be in a designated fire pits. Check the rules at your campsite before starting any fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Put it out completely if nobody will be attending it.
Littering is something our community takes very seriously. We will not tolerate it. DON'T LITTER. We're the environmental stewards of these regions & we're very passionate about its preservation. Trash items are unsightly & are a sign of human neglect & disregard for natural ecosystems. Garbage pollution has a big effect on the environment & can run into rivers & seeps into ground water. Plastics can be especially hazardous to wildlife. Depending on their form they can either be ingested, causing internal organ failure, or they can cause a slow strangulation.
Please respect the rights of property owners. Never trespass onto private property. Many of the locals choose to live here for the peace, privacy & solitude these mountains offer. There are plenty of recreational areas at the lake, in the State Park, Cleveland National Forest & Laguna Mountain. If you're unsure about an area then it's probably best to keep out.
By visiting our destination, you're already making a positive, environmental choice. We need the support of our guests to conserve the natural resources of the region. There are many things you can do to get involved like joining one of our workshops, being a responsible tourist while visiting the region and expanding your own personal knowledge about environmental conservation.
Other things you can do:
- Shorten your showers and don’t leave water needlessly running.
- Take home items which are difficult to recycle here, such as batteries.
- Use energy wisely. Turn off all appliances and lights when not needed.
- Reduce plastic bottle waste. Try alternatives like biodegradable plastics.
- Don’t litter. If you find litter pick it up and dispose of it in bins
- Report violations of environmental laws
- Join one of our volunteer events
You're likely to encounter a lot of wildlife up here. Mule deer, turkeys & various birds of prey are a common sighting. Keep your distance from all wildlife. Never feed any animals or leave food laying around.
Rattlesnakes are encountered in the backocuntry, especially during the warm summer months. Snakes are defensive & will rarely attack unless provoked. When going through thick underbrush be alert, walk slowly and give snakes ample time to move out of the way. Use a hiking stick and wear high top hiking shoes. Stay on clear paths as much as possible. Be careful where you place your feet & hands at all times.
Mountain lions inhabit about half of California generally in areas where deer are plentiful. As their population recovers and increases, so have their contacts with humans who venture into their territory. Following are a few tips from the California Department of Fish and Game:
- Always keep children close. Don't let them run off.
- Never approach a lion.
- Never run from a lion. It might chase you. Stand, face the animal, and make eye contact.
- Pick up small children without bending or turning away from the lion.
- Try to look big. Raise your arms, open your jacket. Make noise.