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Outdoor Recreation Safety Tips for Labor Day Weekend

California State Parks invites outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy this Labor Day weekend safely.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 1, 2016 – California State Parks invites outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy this Labor Day weekend safely. So whether you are walking/hiking a trail, operating an off-highway vehicle, viewing historical sites, relaxing on a beach or exploring California’s waterways in a boat, please do so safely.
The Labor Day weekend typically draws a high number of visitors of all experience levels to California’s outdoors. The large crowds can result in a greater chance of incidents. California’s boating accident statistics show that most fatalities on California’s waterways occur during holiday weekends. Below are some simple tips to keep you, and your family and friends, safe during the upcoming holiday.
Boating Safety

  • Wear a properly-fitted lifejacket for any aquatic activity such as boating.
  • Follow navigation rules.
  • Avoid alcohol when driving or riding on a boat.
  • Children should always be actively supervised by an adult when in or near the water. Designate a water watcher. Do not assume that an adult is supervising children.
  • More Information


  • The use of fireworks in state parks is not allowed.
  • Contain your fires to a manageable size within the appropriate metal rings and fire pits provided by parks.
  • Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving.
  • Campfire Tips – English and Spanish.

Hiking Safety

  • Bring a basic first aid kit, wear proper shoes fit for hiking, a hat for sun protection, and bring drinking water.
  • Hike with a friend or family member.
  • Let someone back at camp or at home know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Please observe trail signage, if you are an equestrian or mountain biker, only ride on designated trails. Don’t walk off-trail.
  • Be courteous of other trail users, practice trail etiquette and stay alert.
  • Wildlife lives in all of our state parks, even near urban areas.More Information

Off-Highway Vehicle Safety

  • Always wear a helmet and goggles when riding off highway vehicles.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; dirt bikes are not toys.
  • Never permit youngsters to ride dirt bikes that are too tall or too powerful for their capabilities.
  • Drive with courtesy. Be prepared to yield to right of way anytime there is doubt and you can safely do so.

Sun Safety

  • Always wear sunscreen to protect from the sun (even on overcast days).
  • Seek the shade, especially during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
  • Cover up with clothing, especially a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Use long sleeve rash guards with a high SPF rating if you are on the beach or in the water.

Swimming, Diving and Ocean Safety

  • Be sure to swim in areas with a staffed lifeguard tower.
  • Use the buddy system when swimming or diving.
  • Know your swimming and diving limits and abilities.
  • For diving, know your entry and exit points.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • More Information


  • Check the weather before you leave.
  • Make sure your equipment is appropriate for the weather expected. Always pack cold weather gear in the event the weather changes, even in summer.
  • Take precautions against the heat by staying hydrated and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun.

Also, outdoor enthusiasts are reminded that alcohol is banned in public areas of some parks; please check local rules. If you do drink alcohol, please remember that there are many dangers associated with the consumption of this beverage. The side effects of alcohol – impaired judgment, reduced balanced, poor coordination, etc. – can be magnified by the outdoor environment. Therefore, your ability to operate recreational vehicles and/or vessels, or the ability to rescue yourself or others can be hindered.
Lastly, a number of state parks have been impacted by wildfires. Parks have either been closed or a reduction in services has been made. Please check online and with the park for any closures or emergency changes that may impact your visit. Also, check road conditions and allow ample time to travel safely during increased holiday traffic.
Thank you for spending your holiday weekend with California State Parks. Please share your memories with us buy tagging us in your photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the author

Charlie REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

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