Western Arizona land managers encourage Responsible for holiday weekend

Published by The Bee News

July 2, 2020

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LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — A coalition of federal land management agencies in Western Arizona, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation, is urging “Responsible Recreation” for the upcoming July 4thholiday weekend. An active wildland fire season and the COVID-19 pandemic have combined to create an unprecedented situation that requires outdoor enthusiasts plan ahead and prioritize safety.

Lake Havasu and other Western Arizona public lands are experiencing higher than normal recreation use as people look for safe and healthy outdoor activities consistent with public health recommendations. While getting outdoors is great for physical and mental health, many areas have seen an increase in fire risk, trash dumping and other unsafe or damaging behavior.

“We are expecting a very busy weekend at Lake Havasu and across the BLM’s Colorado River District this weekend, so we are encouraging the public to plan ahead for a safe and enjoyable 4th of July,” said District Manager William Mack. “We encourage the public to safely enjoy their public lands during the holiday weekend by following fire restrictions, recreation guidelines, as well as public health guidelines.”

“We welcome visitors to Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to experience the wildness of the Sonoran Desert and the famous El Camino del Diablo. While the visitor center is currently closed due to Covid-19, there are a number of outdoor recreation opportunities such as landscape and wildlife photography, hiking, and primitive camping on the 860,000-acre refuge,” said Refuge Manager Sid Slone. “We highly recommend you visit our website to plan your visit and learn how to obtain a free access permit. Please follow current fire restrictions while camping.”

Together, the coalition urges the following steps:

Before you head out on your excursion:

•           Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. Fires in the area and other incidents have impacted access to popular areas.

•           Plan Ahead: Prepare for some visitor centers and restrooms to be closed, so bring essentials like extra water, sun protection, hand sanitizer, and a face covering.

•           Research local county or municipal face covering requirements in the areas you are visiting.

Once You’re Outside:

•           Reduce Fire Risk: Follow all applicable fire restrictions. Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition and other incendiary devices are prohibited on most federally managed public land in Arizona. To learn more about fire restrictions in Arizona: https://wildlandfire.az.gov/.

Practice Physical Distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.

•           Play It Safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury.

           Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities. Take all your garbage out with you.

The message to the Western Arizona community builds off the work of a national coalition that has come together to provide advice for recreating responsibility. Learn more at https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/. The Arizona Office of Tourism is maintaining links to up-to-date information about what parks and recreation areas are available: https://tourism.az.gov/responsible-recreation-across-arizona/

To learn more about each agency, obtain passes or find recreational public lands in your area, please visit:

Bureau of Reclamation – https://www.usbr.gov/

Bureau of Land Management –https://www.blm.gov/arizona

US Fish and Wildlife Service – https://www.fws.gov/

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