NEVADA (KTNV) — Several people are expected to visit state and federal parks during Memorial Day weekend, but many parks and trails are operating on a limited basis due to the pandemic.
John Asselin, public affairs specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, says that being prepared is vital in case of an emergency.
"When you start getting into warmer temperatures, things like a twisted ankle could be a life-threatening injury. If you can't get out and you don't have water, it could become a problem," Asselin said.
Kevin MacDonald, from the Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability, says that it is essential to protect yourself from the sun because there are not a lot of places for shade. And to not rely on your cell phone for service in the desert.
COVID-19 rules also apply this year, which includes wearing a face mask when hiking with others while other recreational activities could also be done closer to home.
"Taking a bike ride with your family or walking around your neighborhood or having a backyard picnic. Those are choices that help us to encourage the safety precautions that are necessary as we start to improve things just a little bit with COVID-19 here in Nevada," said Colin Robertson, with the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation Administrator.
If you decide to visit a park, the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has issued the following guidelines:
-Protecting the health of you and your fellow Nevadans should always be your top priority. Bring a mask whenever you recreate and put it on when approaching other groups. Practice social distancing and maintain at least six feet of space.
-Prevent wildfires by following Nevada-wide fire restrictions. Avoid target shooting in non-designated areas and other high fire-risk activities. Keep a shovel, fire extinguisher, and at least five gallons of water readily available in the event of an unintentional fire start. Our firefighters and first responders thank you for using extra precaution during these trying times.
-Avoid crowded trailheads and parking lots. Have a back-up plan if your favorite spot is too crowded. Remember, those State Parks and federal recreation areas that are open are operating under limited staffing and capacity, including day-use only limitations at most sites.
-Know before you go. Check land management agency websites before venturing out to recreate them. Many of these places are closed right now to protect public health. Nevada State Parks are open for day-use only, and on-site museums, visitor centers, and gift shops are closed until further notice.
-Practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack it in, pack it out. Protect your fellow outdoor friends. Protect our shared natural resources.
-Be prepared. Many facilities, including restrooms, remain closed. Be self-sufficient by bringing in your own food, water, and trash bags.
-Public gatherings, events, and camping in developed sites are still banned. Group-use areas, both day use and overnight camping remain closed at all Nevada State Parks and at many local and federal recreation sites.