A forest might look beautiful, but hazards abound. For this reason, forest personnel post safety and warning signs to help visitors steer clear of potential dangers. As you travel through the forest, whether by vehicle or on foot, you'll notice a variety of signs alerting you to road, trail or other hazards. Some of these warning and safety signs are enforceable by law; others require only common sense to stay safe.
Many common signs posted throughout the forest help drivers navigate the roads, such as speed limit postings. Signs warning of hazards, such as "falling rock," "landslide" or "washed out road," tell drivers to be on the lookout for specific problems in a particular area.
Most forest hiking trails run through remote areas where you should expect to encounter wildlife and see the forest in its natural state. The starting point for most trails will include a sign stating how long the path is and a map detailing the route. You can use this information to determine how much time the hike should take. Remote campsites along the trail also will be listed. Warning signs about dangerous wildlife, such as bears or alligators, usually are posted at the trail head, too. You also might see signs along the trail if hazards, such as falling rocks, could pose a danger.
General Safety Signs
General safety signs might be located throughout the forest for a special event or problem. If a sink hole has opened up in a region that people might frequent, a sign warning of the danger will be posted in the area. Or if there is a special deer hunt one weekend a year within the forest, signs will be posted stating this.
In addition, expect to see signs giving emergency contact information and hours of operation for the forest. If there is a body of water--river, lake or swamp, for example--signs will warn of dangers, such as swift water, strong currents, alligators, bacteria in the water or other threatening conditions.