Safety in state forests

General safety information

The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for the trip. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, and limitations of your body, plus a little common sense, can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

You are responsible for your own safety. Watch for natural hazards when you are in the forest. If you hike off trails, or swim or dive in streams or lakes, you do so at your own risk.

Please, remember to be careful.

Plan Ahead

  • Plan your trip from start to finish at home.
  • Check weather reports
  • Be careful to protect yourself from heat-related and hypothermia while out on the trail. Be aware of lightning, sever storms, and other environmental hazards common to Minnesota.
  • Use topographic map and trail guides.
  • Check elevations and total distance to be traveled.
  • Talk to people experienced in the area you will be visiting.
  • Allow plenty of time for moving over hilly, rugged terrain.
  • Carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
  • Leave your itinerary with a friend or relative. Include a full account of who is in your party, where you are going, when you will be back, where you will exit, and the approximate location of each overnight campsite.
  • Stick to the planned route.
  • Make camp before dark.
  • Purify your water when using lake or stream water.


  • sturdy boots, warm jacket, and extra clothing
  • canteen and extra food
  • Whistle
  • Dark glasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent
  • Pocket knife
  • Waterproof matches and candle for fire starter
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Map and compass
  • Trowel for sanitation and fire
  • Toilet paper
  • Rain/wind Jacket and pants
  • Cell phone

Back to top