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Campgrounds will fill up this Labor Day weekend

Published: Thursday, Aug. 30 2007 12:08 a.m. MDT

The new BLM campground at Yuba is expected to fill up early.

Ray Grass, Deseret Morning News

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Utah State Park managers anticipate full campgrounds and busy waterways and trails this Labor Day weekend.

Park staff encourage people planning to go camping, boating, biking or riding off-highway vehicles to be prepared.

The following parks have campsites available, and reservations may be made up to two days before your arrival: he following parks still have sites available for the weekend: Antelope Island, Fremont, Green River, Huntington, Rock Cliff at Jordanelle, Kodachrome, Quail Creek, Red Fleet, Scofield, Snow Canyon, Starvation, Steinaker, Utah Lake, and Willard Bay.

For reservations or additional information, call 322-3770 from within the Salt Lake calling area and 1-800-322-3770 from outside the area.

There are other campgrounds under the control of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, including a new BLM campground at Yuba. Availability can be determined by contacting the different agencies.

Weekend activities at Utah's state parks include:

Sept. 1-3 — Antelope Island State Park at Fielding Garr Ranch. Make pioneer handkerchief dolls, pick up a needle and quilt, and dip candles. Bring an empty soup can and make a pioneer lantern. Play farm

ball or join in a sack race. Activities continue all day. On Saturday, join the park naturalist at 2 p.m. for a junior ranger program. Though geared for children ages 6 to 12 everyone is welcome. 801-649-5742

Sept. 1 — Jordanelle State Park. Children age 6 to 10 are invited to the Nature Center at 11 a.m. to learn how animals prepare for winter. 435-782-3030

Sept. 1-4 — Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum and Wild Rivers Expeditions. A four-day, 26-mile journey through the upper canyon of the San Juan River is scheduled with archaeologist Rebecca Stoneman. The $820 tuition includes meals and transportation to and from the river. Call 435-678-2238 or visit www.riversandruins.com.

Sept. 1 — Antelope Island State Park will host an easy stroll through the wetlands at Fielding Garr Ranch. Meet at ranch house at 2 p.m. Call 801-721-9569.

Sept. 1 — Wasatch Mountain State Park will have a program called "Making Sense of our Senses" for children age 6 through 12 to become junior rangers. The program begins at 1 p.m. at the educational yurt. Call 435-654-1791.

Sept. 3 — Antelope Island State Park will have a park naturalist take a group on an adventure into the park's nightlife. Meet at the visitors center at 4 p.m. Call 801-721-9569.

Drownings in Utah's lakes and reservoirs have prompted Utah State Park Rangers to urge swimmers and boaters to use caution while on the water.

"Accidents can happen suddenly and at any time," said Dave Harris, boating coordinator. "Wearing a life jacket while boating is synonymous with wearing your seat belt on the highway — they are both proven life savers."

Nearly 80 percent of fatalities from boating accidents could be prevented if a life jacket had been worn. It is likely that nearly 100 percent of swimming-related drownings could be prevented if a life jacket or other floatation device is used.

Other reminders:

• Utah law requires children under 13 to wear a properly sized life jacket when on a boat. It is a safe and smart practice for everyone, including adults, to always wear a life jacket when on the water.

• Never swim alone; always swim with a "buddy." Parents should make sure they are watching their children, even when other adults or a lifeguard are present.

• Don't drink alcohol if you are planning to swim or go boating. Alcohol slows reaction time and affects balance and judgment.

• Be aware that in natural bodies of water, swift currents, deep water and/or a sudden drop-off can get you in trouble, even if you are a good swimmer.

For boating safety information call 801-538-2628 within the Salt Lake calling area or 1-800-743-3792 from outside the Salt Lake calling area or visit www.stateparks.utah.gov.