September 4 2020

Camp, paddle and recreate safely this holiday weekend

Warm-weather holiday weekends often include a mix of camping, paddling, family barbequing, swimming and many other fun outdoor activities. Five Rivers MetroParks invites you to savor the last days of summer during the holiday weekend and offers some guidelines to keep you and the environment safe.

Campsite safety: Whether you have reservations to camp at a MetroParks site or plan on camping in a different outdoor destination, there are some important things to remember for your health and the health of the environment.

  1. Always adhere to the health and safety restrictions outlined in the Ohio Department of Health’s Camp Safe Order. Visitors are asked to refrain from gathering in large groups, wear protective face coverings when interacting with campers and always observe social distancing guidelines.
  2. Those who camp in MetroParks are required to have reservations, which can include up to 10 people who live in the same household.
  3. Campers also should learn more about minimizing campfire impacts, an important Leave No Trace principle.
  4. While trash receptacles are available in MetroParks, campers should always plan to properly dispose of waste and be prepared to pack out what they carry in.

On the water: Labor Day weekend is often the last time people will wear their swimsuits for the year. While there is no swimming in MetroParks, fishing, paddling and boating are permitted in designated areas.

  1. While you don’t have to be in a watercraft to fish, anglers should consider wearing a lifejacket when near the water.
  2. To have a safe, enjoyable boating and/or paddling experience, always remember to:
  3. Wear a life jacket: Make sure everyone is wearing a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. New, innovative styles provide mobility and flexibility during water activities.
  4. Check equipment: Make sure you have and know how to use all the essential equipment.
  5. Make a float plan: Let family and friends know where you’re going and when you will return.
  6. Use an engine cutoff device: This is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
  7. Watch the weather: Always check the forecast before departing and frequently during your excursion.
  8. Know what’s going on around you at all times: Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2018 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
  9. Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds: Familiarize yourself with local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.
  10. Never boat under the influence: A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
  11. Keep in touch: Cell phones, satellite phonescan all be important devices in an emergency.
  12. Practice social distancing: Follow state and local guidance from public health officials. See tips for social distancing and boating.
  13. Learn more about boating and lifejacket safety from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Recreate responsibly: The warm-weather seasons have turned out parkgoers in record numbers this year. While people look to the outdoors for a safe space to cultivate both mental and physical health, it’s important to remember to recreate responsibly. By using Leave No Trace Principles and the CDC’s guidelines for visiting parks and recreation facilities, you ensure that you and your fellow parkgoers stay safe and healthy.

Five Rivers MetroParks visitors should always follow the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing and wearing face coverings, while spending time outdoors. For the most current information on MetroParks’ COVID-19 response and related closures, visit metroparks.org/covid-19 and follow Five Rivers MetroParks on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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