Forest Service Warns Against Reliance On GPS During Winter
The Forest Service is reminding drivers to avoid heavy reliance on GPS when traveling this winter.
They're warning that people who use mapping apps to avoid highway closures or shorten travel time can sometimes find themselves in very dangerous situations with unplowed roads, heavy snow, and no cell phone service.
Robin DeMario with the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest advises against following GPS directions into areas you're not familiar with.
"In years past, there have been tragic results from people solely relying on directions they get from their GPS units," DeMario said
She says there have been numerous situations when travelers on national forest roads have been stranded for hours or longer in heavy snow.
Some roads are not maintained in the winter, so travelers are advised to bring a paper map and to not rely solely on GPS to get then to their destination.
Demario says GPS doesn't compensate for weather conditions or road closures when it charts travel routes
"Those units might show roads being open, when in fact, roads are not open," said DeMario. "Many roads are not open in the wintertime.
National Forests have become a popular travel spot on Veterans Day because the Forest Service waves fees at day-use recreation sites. The fee waiver includes many picnic areas, boat launches, and trailheads.
People planning to visit the forest on Veterans Day, or any time after that in the winter, are being asked to check weather and snow conditions before traveling.
Check road conditions and be prepared for winter driving. Also, expect snowpack to change as roads change in elevation.
Drivers are asked to research the area and route they'll use.