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Five tips for outdoors enthusiasts when heading out

Posted July 2, 2020

PHOENIX — If you’re planning to head outdoors for the holiday weekend, check out these tips from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). Whether you’re new to outdoor recreation or looking for a quick refresher, these tips will help you enjoy your time outside safely and responsibly.

Always have a plan.
Zero tolerance for littering.
Go with social distancing in mind.
Find out the latest fire information.
Don’t drive cross country.

Always have a plan. Check the status of the area you want to visit, including the traffic conditions for your trip, before heading out. Have an alternative in mind in case conditions or crowding become an issue. Think of all the things you’ll need to bring and make a checklist. Be sure you have adequate food, water, and clothing appropriate for the area and the weather. Don’t forget items such as trash bags, hand sanitizer, and a mask or face covering, just in case. Some basics can be found at https://www.nps.gov/articles/10essentials.htm.

Zero tolerance for littering. People enjoy our public and state lands because of the health and lifestyle benefits of being outside. Please keep in mind that these areas are managed and conserved so that we and future generations can enjoy them. Treat the land with respect. A good practice is to “leave no trace” that you were there. Littering and leaving garbage out is not only unsightly and unhealthy, it can also attract wildlife such as bears or coyotes, heightening the chance of human-wildlife conflicts. In developed campgrounds and recreation sites, trash pickup and restroom facilities may continue to be limited, so if trash receptacles are full, pack everything out you packed in. See seven principles of “Leave No Trace.”

Go with social distancing in mind. Recreate with the people in your household. Avoid crowded areas. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail, in a campground, at a boat launch, or in a parking lot. Follow the CDC’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines for staying at least six feet away from others. Have a mask, be prepared to wear it (covering your nose and mouth) if you’re near others. See the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines.

Find out the latest fire information. Find out what fire restrictions are in place or what areas might be closed due to wildfires or COVID-19 concerns. Land management agencies such as the Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service have websites and social media that offer information on local conditions. (The Tonto National Forest announced temporary closures taking effect July 2). Call the appropriate jurisdiction if you have questions. To find current information on fire restrictions and closures in Arizona, visit https://firerestrictions.us/az/. To find current information on wildfires in Arizona, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

Don’t drive cross country. Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts are reminded to please stay on designated roads and trails. Driving cross country can cause lasting habitat damage that leaves the land impaired for your kids, grandkids and future generations. The damage left by careless cross country travel negatively impacts the wildlife you are out there to enjoy, and also detracts from the beauty of the landscape. See more tips on responsible riding.

More information on recreating safely and responsibly can be found at: