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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org):
-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).