Utah State Parks Blog

Summer Holiday Safety Tips

Green River State Park

Nothing better than celebrating a summer holiday with your friends and family at your favorite state park, right? We agree! But as you might already know, holidays are some of the busiest times at our parks. Larger crowds always mean a greater chance of incidents. Be prepared in advance with these helpful tips, so you can have a memorable and safe time.

General Safety Tips

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Take a friend along with you. Don’t go it alone.
  • Check the weather, fire restrictions, and current conditions at the park before getting on the road.
  • Pack an emergency kit. It’s worth investing in a kit that at least has the basics for dealing with a minor injury. Familiarize yourself with what’s inside the kit beforehand and add anything you think you might need.
  • Bring a cell phone, radio, or other devices to help you communicate in case of an emergency.

Boating / Water Safety

  • Wear a properly-fitted life jacket for water-related activities such as boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, waterskiing, etc. Utah Law requires that all boats have at least one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Passengers 12 years old and younger must wear a properly sized Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever a boat is in operation. Find more life jacket tips here.
  • Know and follow the boating laws and rules.
  • Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is NO DIFFERENT than driving your car under the influence. The same penalties apply, including suspension of driver’s license, possible jail time, and fines. Always have a designated driver.
  • Children should be actively supervised by an adult at all times when in or near the water. Designate a water watcher. Do not assume that an adult is supervising children.
  • Read more boating safety tips here.

Off-Highway Vehicle Safety

  • Wear Your Helmet! We recommend that everyone wears a helmet. It can save your life. Helmets, when properly worn, won’t reduce your vision or hearing and will help cut out windblasts. Helmets are mandatory on public land for riders under the age of 18.
  • Gloves, abrasion-resistant clothing, and over-the-ankle boots are highly recommended.
  • Be alert to oncoming traffic, especially on blind curves or in dips and crests of hills.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed. Drive with courtesy.
  • It is illegal to drive an OHV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • A red or orange “whip flag” must be attached to OHVs when riding in sand dune areas.
  • Anyone under 18 can operate an OHV on public land (no longer an 8-year-old minimum age requirement) if they are:
    • Able to reach and operate each control necessary to safely operate the off-highway vehicle and;
    • Have in their possession an OHV education certificate or a valid Driver’s License and;
    • Under direct adult supervision.
  • Learn more OHV laws, rules, and safety tips here.

Fire Safety

Keeping campfires properly controlled and doused could prevent up to 28% of Utah’s wildfires. 

  • Always follow local fire restrictions. Check restrictions before you go so you can be prepared. A list of state park fire restrictions can be found here.
  • Make sure your fire is completely out before walking away. Check to see if it’s cool by feeling it with the back of your hand.
  • Never leave your fire unattended. 
  • Keep it contained. Only start your fire in an approved firepit or cleared ground (following local fire restrictions).
  • Do not start a fire on a windy day.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or water nearby.
  • Please note that fireworks are prohibited.
  • Learn more at utahfiresense.org!

Hiking Safety

Antelope Island State Park
  • Bring a basic first-aid kit and sufficient drinking water for your trip. Pack snacks or a light meal so you can refuel if necessary. 
  • Wear proper hiking boots/shoes and a hat for sun protection.
  • Be courteous of others on the trail. Stay alert.
  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Let someone back at camp or at home know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Follow trail signs. Don’t hike off-trail.
  • Remember that wildlife lives in all of our state parks, even near urban areas.

Sun Safety

Goblin Valley State Park
  • Always wear sunscreen to shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays—even on overcast days. Protect yourself with at least UPF 30, and reapply as needed. 
  • Seek shade! Especially during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
  • Cover up with clothing, especially UV-blocking sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat. 
  • Watch for signs of dehydration! Stay hydrated by aiming for at least 64 oz of water per day. In the heat of the summer, you can lose up to 1 liter an hour through sweating and evaporation. If you experience any of these symptoms it is vital that you drink plenty of water, get out of the sun, and get adequate rest. Symptoms of dehydration include:
    • Thirst
    • Dry Mouth / Skin
    • Sleepiness
    • Irritability
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Less-frequent Urination
    • Increased Heart Rate

Utah’s great outdoors are beautiful places to explore, but safety always needs to be a top priority. Thank you for spending your holiday weekend with Utah State Parks!

If you found this blog entry interesting, please consider sharing it through your social network.