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Coeur d'Alene, ID - Even though there is very little snow accumulation in low areas of Kootenai County, there is upwards of a foot or more in the higher elevations. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind all the recreational users to take the necessary precautions when traveling in the mountainous areas to ensure their safe return. Depending on elevation and temperature, these roads can turn to ice very quickly resulting in reduced traction. In recent weeks there have been several traffic accidents on the forest roads. Some of these have involved serious injuries to the occupants.
When users decide to venture out into the woods they need to take some steps to help with their safety. Some of those steps are as simple as letting a relative or friend know where you are going, what route you will be taking and what time you will return. Equally important is for the users to follow their described route. In addition, when you decide to go into the woods, you should take some basic survival gear with you. This gear should include; food, water, extra warm clothing, fire starting materials and something to build a shelter. You may also want to consider having a flashlight and extra batteries. Additionally, be sure to have a shovel and snow chains in your vehicle and don’t depend on your cell phone to work when you need to call for help in most backcountry areas.
Another way to ensure you will have a safe return is to know your limitations. Do not venture into an area you are not familiar with, know what you are capable of doing and don’t over-extend the ability of your vehicle when traveling through the snow and ice. When traveling on the icy forest roads it is recommended that you have tire chains and install them before you get into trouble. In addition, it will not be long before Snowmobile Season will be upon us. At that time, the majority of Forest Service Roads will be closed to vehicle traffic, as they will be designated as Groomed Snowmobile Trails.
If you have any questions, please call the Sheriff’s Office Recreation & Safety Section at 446-2250. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department wants everyone to enjoy the backcountry and all the recreational activities it provides, but we also want everyone to have a safe return.
Sheriff Ben Wolfinger
By: Sergeant Will Klinkefus