Memorial Day Weekend: Spring Into Adventure & Recreate Responsibly
Javonne Goodman, Public Affairs Specialist
As the spring weather warms up, the three-day Memorial Day weekend can be a busy time to visit public lands in Utah. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands provide excellent opportunities for visitors to enjoy America’s open spaces – and to reflect on the sacrifices made by the United States Armed Services veterans who died serving our country.
Following guidelines for recreating responsibly outdoors and preventing wildfires will keep everyone safe. It is up to all of us to help protect public lands from preventable wildfires this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year. Spring into your outdoor adventure by recreating responsibly and using Fire Sense to help prevent human-caused wildfires!
Know Before You Go
Know how to prevent wildfires by using outdoor equipment properly, learning campfire safety to properly extinguish campfires, and checking for fire restrictions and closures. Reservations and permits may be required.
Vehicles are a major contributor to wildfires each year. Before heading out on your next adventure, keep vehicles properly maintained, including tire pressure
Plan and Prepare
Check the local weather conditions before you leave home and be prepared for seasonal weather changes. Make sure you have the gear you need and a backup plan. Always let someone know your plans, including your itinerary and when you expect to return home. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and use when properly extinguishing campfires.
Download the Recreation.gov mobile app for interactive maps, tours, permits, accessibility information and other helpful resources before heading out on your next adventure. If you are using the "Scan & Pay" feature for campsites and permits at kiosks, the feature will prompt you to download or open the app to pay securely through the Recreation.gov system.
Utah experienced record-breaking snowpack levels this year! With storms and melting snow, a flash flood can happen quickly in canyons and other landscapes during this time of year as the weather warms. Remember to secure personal property, stay away from floodwaters, and avoid travel on flooded roads. Campgrounds or recreation areas may be temporarily closed due to flooding, so check with the local offices and visitor centers for more information.
Play it Safe
Understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools and make sure there are no restrictions on their use in the area you are visiting. Park away from and not on dry grass. Ensure tow chains are not dragging and tow straps are secured. Fireworks and exploding targets cannot be used on public lands.
River and Stream Safety
Enjoying time outside also includes being water-safe and knowing your own limits. High water levels and swift currents can maker rivers and streams dangerous. Seek higher ground if you encounter flooding or rain and wait until the water recedes before attempting to hike out. Know the different types of currents and understand where they will take you if you plan to recreate in, on, or around rivers and streams. The water may look calm on the surface but strong currents lie underneath.
Overcrowding and impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a backup plan that includes destinations closer to home.
Leave No Trace
"Pack it in, pack it Out"
Visitors should be prepared to follow Leave No Trace principles, including disposing of waste properly and respecting wildlife. It is your responsibility to pack out everything that you packed in, including any trash.
Make sure your campfire is completely out and cold to the touch before going to sleep or leaving your campsite. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave. Campfire safety is essential to preventing human-caused wildfires. For more information on preventing human-caused wildfires or the statewide Fire Sense Campaign, visit the Utah Fire Info website.
Build an Inclusive Outdoors
Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities. Visiting public lands is an opportunity to develop meaningful connections to the natural world and a commitment to stewardship.
Bureau of Land Management Utah offices will be closed on Monday, May 29, in observance of Memorial Day, but fire personnel, law enforcement officers and recreation staff will be patrolling public lands over the long weekend.