July 3, 2012
Contact: Jennie Albrinck
We welcome visitors to enjoy their national parks and public lands this Fourth of July. Due to excessive heat, drier than normal conditions, and high fire danger, we encourage you to read the following tips and remember that taking some extra voluntary precautions can allow everyone to enjoy this Independence Day:
- Before going hiking or camping, check for fire restrictions and closures in the area. Direct your inquiries to the agency that manages the publiclands you are visiting.
- If you are a smoker, smoke only on paved surfaces or in an enclosed vehicle; and never toss cigarette butts on the ground. Use an ashtray or pack butts out in your pocket.
- If you are using a portable stove, clear the area of grasses and other fine fuels and be careful to prevent the stove from tipping over.
- Consider alternatives to campfires, even when they are allowed. Never leave a campfire or portable stove unattended.
- If you are driving on unpaved roads, avoid parking or driving your vehicle in tall, dry vegetation. Hot vehicle parts can start a fire.
- If you see smoke or fire, note the location and report it to authorities. Do NOT attempt to put out a fire by yourself.
Campfires are not allowed in Badlands National Park due to the extreme danger of prairie wildfire. Camp stoves or contained gas or charcoal grills can be used in the campgrounds or picnic areas. Electrical hook-ups are available in the Cedar Pass Campground, operated by Forever Resorts. Fireworks of any kind are not permitted.
Summer temperatures in Badlands National Park and Minuteman Missile often exceed 105 degrees. Be prepared whether you are touring by car or hiking; both Badlands National Park and the Badlands South Unit have water bottle filling stations. Carrying extra water and food is always a good idea in these remote areas of southwestern South Dakota. Hikers should be prepared with hats, sunscreen, water, electrolyte replacement supplements and food. Always tell someone where you will be traveling, and understand that cell coverage is unreliable. Water and salty snacks are available at the Cedar Pass Lodge and at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center's Badlands Natural History Association bookstore.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday in your national parks and public lands.