An overlay of the acronym RESPECT on the forest with trees, a path and blue sky

Handy Tips for Responsible Forest Recreation

Visit Yosemite | Madera County supports the Responsible Travel Code launched by Visit California, asking visitors to travel with RESPECT by committing to seven best practices when exploring the southern Yosemite region:

Roam Responsibly
Educate Myself
Safety First
Preserve California
Embrace Community
Celebrate Culture
Teach Others

“Visit California’s Responsible Travel Code is really about creating a respectful environment for all,” says Rhonda Salisbury, CEO of Visit Yosemite | Madera County.

“In this part of the state it’s about wearing a mask, respecting social distancing guidelines and preserving natural outdoor spaces.

Salisbury says the core value of ‘pack it in — pack it out’ has never been more critical.

“Services in the area are limited and it’s going to take everyone working together to keep our forests, lakes and mountains clean and open to visitors.”

“The tenets of our Responsible Travel Code speak to both preserving California and the safety of our communities and visitors,” adds Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California.

“We hope this code can serve as a quick resource for travelers on how to stay safe and be respectful of others and the environment when visiting the state.”

The code is part of the Responsible Travel Hub, found at

This resource demonstrates ways visitors can travel safely and responsibly and shares what businesses and communities across the state are doing to ensure the safety of their employees and guests.

Content includes tips and strategies for those ready to travel and covers what travelers need to know about experiencing the golden state this year.

Visitors have always loved picnicking in the Sierra National Forest and around Bass Lake. Now, ordering takeout for those picnics is easier than ever. Local wineries and breweries have also embraced the to-go spirit, making dining al frescobellissimo!

Preserving California means packing up every container, every paper napkin and ensuring even the smallest scraps of food are removed and disposed of securely.

“Due to COVID-19, trash removal services are reduced in remote areas,” explains said Brooke Smith, spokesperson for Visit Yosemite | Madera County.

“Litter and overflowing bins are not only an eyesore, but these conditions are unhealthy for the environment and wild animals as well.”

‘Leave No Trace’ means leaving the outdoors pristine, as good, or cleaner than you found it,” Smith continued.

“Foxes, bears, raccoons and bald eagles live in Madera County, so if garbage doesn’t fit securely into a trash receptacle, please take it home or the local critters will have a midnight snack scattering litter everywhere in these beautiful places, creating a dangerous situation for the health of the animals and the people.”

Visitors will want to plan ahead by checking with the destinations they intend to visit to learn what activities are allowed, prohibited or limited, and prepare accordingly, Bereta cautions.

“They can plan to take several new precautions, and also be excited to experience travel again — spending time with loved ones, creating new memories, and enjoying the communities and great experiences that California has to offer.”

About Visit Yosemite | Madera County