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Planning on visiting public lands Easter weekend? Here are some tips

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Bureau of Land Management is anticipating a large increase in visitors as days near Easter weekend.

On March 29, BLM shares that as many embark onto the public lands, it’s best to plan ahead and follow local, State and Federal guidelines, laws, and regulations to ensure a safe visit. 

According to the bureau, some recreation sites and areas may have limited services. Campgrounds, restrooms, trailheads, rivers, and recreation sites may have restrictions or new operating procedures in place. 

So if you are planning on heading over to a certain area, make sure to check out www.blm.gov/alert/utah-operations for all the latest updates on the operating status of sites and facilities.

“The safety of our employees and visitors is the BLM’s highest priority. BLM staff is hard at work managing public lands to help the public recreate safely and to protect resources,” writes the management team. “While some of our visitor centers or field offices may still limit in-person services, you can still reach local BLM staff by phone or email.”

According to BLM, many sites are currently open and, as you consider visiting public lands, here are some tips to ensure you keep not only the land safe but yourself as well!  

  • Follow guidance from local, State, and Federal authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • Do not congregate at trailheads or other outdoor spaces. Have a backup plan so you can still enjoy the outdoors even if the area you are trying to visit is full or too crowded. 
  • Please follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines and keep at least a six-foot distance from BLM staff and other public land users while you are recreating. Use a mask when physical distances cannot be maintained.  
  • Visitors to public lands should be self-reliant and come prepared to recreate responsibly. Tips include: 
    • Plan to pack out your trash. Trash receptacles overflow quickly during busy weekends, improperly disposed of trash is a health hazard and harmful to wildlife. 
    • Proper human waste management is important to preserve natural areas and for public health. The organization Leave No Trace provides tips and best practices to dispose of waste properly here: https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/dispose-of-waste-properly/. Come prepared with a disposable toilet system in the event restrooms are unavailable. 
    • We have already seen a number of concerning human-caused fires this year. Please remember to extinguish campfires completely, ensure spark arresters on off-highway vehicles are working properly, and never detonate fireworks on BLM public land. Please do not use explosive targets during recreational shooting; use is currently illegal in Utah. 
    • The weather can change quickly on public lands. Bring layers of clothing, plan accordingly, and check the weather prior to visiting. If rain is in the forecast do not enter any slot canyons or areas that are prone to flooding. 
    • Travel on designated motorized routes and trails. Do not create new trails or bypasses around obstacles. 
    • Reduce your impact on dispersed camping areas by choosing existing, previously disturbed sites. Do not create new sites in undisturbed areas. 
    • Let someone know your itinerary and the time you expect to return. Share a plan of action if you miss anticipated check-in times. 
    • More information about planning ahead be found at https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/know-before-you-go.
       

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