Prepare ahead to travel in national forests

Snow falls in the Chugach National Forest on Dec. 18, 2021. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith for The Cordova Times

U.S. Forest Service officials are reminding those pursuing recreational activities in Alaska’s national forests to be prepared when venturing out for snowshoeing, skiing, stargazing and aurora chasing.

Top tips for enjoying these activities and returning home safely include:

  • Wear extra layers and bring some, too: Cold temperatures mean the need for layers as temperatures change quickly.
  • Check weather and avalanche forecasts before departing: Checking weather and avalanche forecasts will help provide the most recent information and avalanche risk for winter activities occurring on slopes. Check out the Chugach Avalanche Center at
  • Prepare for winter road conditions: Pack an emergency roadside kit, plan extra time for travel, and be ready for snow, ice or wind.
  • Keep an eye out for traps: Winter is trapping season in Alaska. Be sure to stay on the trail, keep children close, and keep pets safe by keeping them on a leash.
  • Stay hydrated: Cold temperatures can lead to dehydration too. Make sure to keep hydrated while having fun.
  • Always use caution when crossing frozen bodies of water: Ice thickness can change quickly and is not always stable.
  • Share trip plans: Always share trip plans (routes, destinations and return times) with someone not on the trip.