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BLM Reminds Visitors to Recreate Responsibly and Safely on Public Lands

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

With Memorial Day weekend approaching the Bureau of Land Management is working with local, state, and federal partners and will use a phased approach to expand access to closed areas in California on a case-by-case basis. The safety of visitors to public lands remains our top priority.

Some areas remain temporarily closed and we encourage visitors to please check the BLM California webpage to determine operating status and current conditions before planning their visit at https://www.blm.gov/site-page/blm-california-covid-19-updates.

BLM lands provide great opportunities for visitors to enjoy America’s open spaces – and to reflect on the sacrifices made by the United States Armed Services veterans who died serving our country.

“This Memorial Day, please take time to remember and honor those men and women who gave their lives to protect our nation and the values we hold dear. And if you do choose to get outside on your public lands with friends and family over the weekend, please do so responsibly and safely,” said California State Director Karen Mourtisen.

In California, the Bureau of Land Management oversees 15 million acres of public lands that support the agency’s multiple-use mission, which includes 1,735 miles of nationally designated trails and 356 miles of rivers.

Because the safety of our employees and the public remains paramount, the BLM reminds visitors to recreate responsibly and safely on Memorial Day weekend and throughout the remainder of the year by following our recreation tips.

Recreate Responsibly, Recreate Safely Tips
• Stay home if you don’t feel well or have recently been sick.
• Follow guidance from local and state authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
• Avoid heavily used or crowded trails, parking areas, and sites and seek dispersed recreation opportunities in your local area. Have a backup plan to avoid crowded high-use areas. If you find an area to be crowded, turn around.
• Check with local offices for current conditions, including closures and changes in service, before visiting popular areas and visit blm.gov for operating status updates.
• Practice social distancing. Be considerate of others enjoying the outdoors by giving them as much space as possible in parking lots, at trailheads, and out on public lands.
• Help prevent human-caused wildfires. Completely extinguish campfires by using the “drown, stir and feel” method. Do not park on dry grass and ensure tow chains are not dragging and tow straps are secured. Observe fire danger restrictions on BLM lands designated as high-risk early in this fire season. To obtain training on campfire safety or to obtain a California campfire permit, visit preventwildfireca.org/campfire-Permit. Follow fireworks restrictions and target shooting requirements at all times. A listing of fire restrictions throughout BLM California is available at https://go.usa.gov/xmUEG.
• Avoid unnecessary risks while recreating to prevent overwhelming medical facilities.
• Bring supplies for sanitation with you and pack out your trash. Facilities, including bathrooms and visitor centers may not be open or available for in-person contact.

Public lands offer great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors at a safe distance from others. Visitors should follow state and local public health guidance, come prepared, be flexible, and respect other users as well as natural and cultural resources on public lands. Updates about the overall BLM response to COVID-19 are posted at https://www.blm.gov/alert/coronavirus-advisory.

Additional Resources:
• CDC Information on Protecting yourself: www.coronavirus.gov
• Wildfire information: https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm
• Leave No Trace ethics: https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/
• Tread Lightly principles: https://www.treadlightly.org/learn/

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