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California State Parks Safety Tips

Boating Safety | Life Jackets | Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Safety | Summer Heat Resources | Campfire Safety | Wildlife 


Hiking Safety

  • Use the “buddy system” – hike with a friend or family member.
  • Drink and carry plenty of water (a minimum of 1 quart every 2 hours).
  • Wear sturdy comfortable shoes to help prevent injury.
  • Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Stay on established trails. Do not walk off-trail or enter closed areas.
  • Our state parks are home to a variety of wildlife. Help us keep these animals wild by viewing them from a safe distance. Never feed or touch wildlife. Do not approach or attempt to move sick or injured wildlife. Please report any encounters with aggressive, sick or injured animals to a park ranger.
  • Snakes – always know where you are stepping.  If you have to traverse a log that has fallen across the trail, first step up onto the log then step down once you know the coast is clear, rather than just stepping over the log. Be cautious when climbing rocks or picking up firewood.  If you see a snake, maintain a distance of 6 feet. Most bites occur when people get too close or try to touch them.  Some gear you could consider using are
  • Tick populations are expected to rise this season. Take the following precautions to avoid them:
    • Walk in the middle of trails
    • Use insect repellent
    • Tuck your pants into your socks
    • After taking off gear always check for hitch-hiking ticks
    • Always do a “tick-check” with the help of a friend

For more information 

Backpacking Safety

  • Be prepared – backpacking requires careful planning before heading into the wilderness.
  • Speak to a Ranger or Park Staff at the visitor center for current trail conditions, weather forecast, and reliability of water sources.
  • Drink and carry plenty of water (a minimum of 1 quart every 2 hours).
  • Let someone back at camp or at home know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Do not walk off-trail or enter closed areas.
  • Wildlife lives in all of our state parks, even near urban areas.
  • Hike with a friend or family member.

Off-Highway Vehicle Safety

  • Always wear a helmet and goggles when riding off-highway vehicles.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; dirt bikes are not toys.
  • Never permit youngsters to ride dirt bikes that are too tall or too powerful for their capabilities.

For more information

Boating Safety

  • Wear a lifejacket for any aquatic activity such as boating.
  • Avoid alcohol when driving or riding on a boat.
  • Don’t swim near or under the back deck or swim platform while the boat motor is running. You can inhale Carbon Monoxide.
  • Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean.
  • Use a phosphate-free soap to minimize the impacts of greywater on the marine environment. Also minimize discharge by doing dishes and showers on shore whenever possible.

For more information

Sun Safety

  • Always wear sunscreen to protect from the sun (even on overcast days.)
  • Seek the shade, especially during the sun's peak hours (10:00am-4:00pm).
  • Cover up with clothing, especially a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.  Use long sleeve rash guards with a high SPF rating if you are on the beach or in the water.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements.
  • Examine your skin from head to toe once every month.

For more information