Snakes, rough terrain and dangerous temperatures aren't the only things you have to look out for in your local federal forest this summer.
For at least the second year in a row the U.S. Forest Service has issued a warning to summer hikers:
Beware of "marijuana grow sites" in your lovely, taxpayer-owned national forests. (Wouldn't that make it the people's weed? Discuss).
Now, we know some of you medicinal-using locals would actually be attracted to the pleasant aromas of cannabis al fresco in our own Angeles National Forest. But watch your step:
Authorities say public-forest weed growers are often Mexican-drug-cartel-connected, ruthless, and well-armed. The grows sometimes feature booby traps to ensnare and injure law enforcers.
And Uncle Sam is worried about your safety. Well ... not really. They just want you to narc on the narco-traffickers.
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According to the latest Forest Service warning, issued earlier in May, feds want you to "be observant" and report "potential signs of illegal activity" (906-789-3358 or email@example.com):
-Vehicles or suspicious people in unusual locations
-Heavily-used or unusual foot paths
-Vehicles or people with unusual camping/gardening equipment (e.g. Watering hose; Fertilizer bags; Tents or tarps; Seedling trays; Hand tools like saws, shovels, rakes, hoes; or Propane tanks)
-People carrying guns in spring or summer or concealing firearms
-Tents, tarps or primitive structures of trees/saplings in unusual locations
And, we would add, beware of shiny happy people and sticky, good smelling herbage. Heads up, friends. (And bring a lighter. But remember only you can prevent forest fires. So be careful).