CASPER, Wyo. — As Memorial Day weekend draws near, people are asked to be safe and responsible when recreating on public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management say they are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and increasing access and services for BLM-managed land in a phased, regional approach. The BLM Wyoming website offers information about camping, hiking and other recreation guidelines in the state.
The BLM ask that people follow COVID-19 related public health guidance and to respect others while enjoying natural and cultural resources. They said that BLM land provides recreation opportunities for people and also a chance to reflect on the sacrifice military veterans have made.
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“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,”said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “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.”
The BLM provided the following safety tips for people to consider:
-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. Don’t park on dry grass and ensure tow chains aren’t dragging and tow straps are secured. Observe fire danger restrictions on BLM lands designated as high-risk early in this fire season. Follow fireworks restrictions and target shooting requirements at all times.
-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.
“Updates about the overall BLM response to COVID-19 are posted at https://www.blm.gov/alert/coronavirus-advisory,” the BLM adds.
They also provided links to additional public land-related 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/
This article originally appeared on Oil City News. Used with permission.
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: email@example.com
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.