Exploring the Backcountry

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Back country terrain that is US Forest Service land is perfectly legal for people to explore. Exploring the back country comes with its own risks: you could get lost, injured or set off an avalanche.

"Make sure they know the conditions. And that they go with somebody. If they don't go with somebody, which we don't recommend, make sure they let people know when they plan to leave and come back. To make sure their beacons are working properly. That they have all the things necessary in case they do get stuck there overnight so they can stay safe in the back country -- be prepared," says Christie Kalkowski with the US Forest Service.

Experts say it's always a good idea to carry a cell phone with you. That way, if you do find yourself in an emergency situation, you can easily call 911.

"For Search and Rescue, all we want to do is find people and make sure they're safe. Call us for help. We don't want anyone not calling us just because they're scared of getting penalized," says Sergeant Russ Pedersen with Washoe County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue.

And plenty of people are because the fines can be hefty!
While Washoe County's search and rescue service is free, a careflight helicopter can cost you upwards of 4-thousand dollars!

To check on the most up-to-date avalanche conditions in our area, check out Sierra Avalanche Center's website: