With more people taking time off during the holidays, Fort Bragg officials remind Sandhills residents of the dangers of unauthorized recreating in the post’s training areas, especially during deer-gun hunting season, which ends Jan. 2.

“Fort Bragg has an exceptional hunter safety record, with more than 750,000 safe hunts,” said Alan Schultz, Fort Bragg’s Wildlife Branch chief. Authorized hunters on Fort Bragg are required to attend extensive training and are subject to many different hunter and public safety processes to minimize risk, Schultz said.

“We want to maintain our very strong record of hunter safety and to do that we need hikers, walkers and runners to stay out of hunting areas,” Schultz said.

Fort Bragg is a closed post, so unless in a specifically authorized place and time, leaving paved roads or entering the woods can impact training and expose recreationists to unseen dangers.

Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to use the Smith Lake Recreation Area trails for walking, hiking, running and biking, as these activities are not authorized in the training areas.

During deer hunting season, the entire All American Trail is closed to walkers and runners. Even after the end of hunting season, All American Trail users are advised to wear bright clothing and use lights in low light conditions.  At no time are four-wheelers or dirt bikes allowed in Fort Bragg’s training areas.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in the illegal use of all terrain vehicles in the training areas, which is illegal and damages protected wildlife areas and cultural or historic sites,” Schultz said.