Long holiday weekend expected to be busy

Published: Thursday, May 24 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

No new construction activities are scheduled to take place over Memorial Day weekend, however, drivers will encounter existing restrictions such as narrowed lanes, reduced speed limits and lane shifts that will remain in place to ensure safety, according to UDOT spokesperson Mindy Nelson.

Drivers are encouraged to check the UDOT Construction website when planning their trips by visiting udot.utah.gov and clicking on the orange “Construction” button, she said. The website includes an interactive map of all current construction projects in the state, as well as live traffic cameras and incident information.

Weekend forecast

Weather for the holiday weekend is expected to be relatively mild, but rain is in the forecast, according to KSL 5 meteorologist Grant Weyman. There is a chance of rain Friday, and a stronger chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday. Monday, Memorial Day looks like the best day of the three-day weekend with highs in the mid-70s and clear skies.

Camping begins

The possibility of inclement weather has done little to deter Utahns from planning holiday camping excursions. The state Division of Parks and Recreation reported that demand for campsites around the state is high — with almost every state park already open.

Reservations manager Emily Debois-Hearndon said the warm spring has allowed a majority of the state's parks to be open for more than a month. In fact, demand for campsites has been exceptional, thus far.

"We're pretty filled up throughout the summer already," she said. "Because the parks are so popular, they do fill up especially on the holiday and event weekends."

There are 32 state parks with more than 1,000 campsites, she explained, "They get full a few months prior to arrival."

Chris Blight of Salt Lake purchased a tent, sleeping bag and other camping equipment Thursday at REI in hopes of taking his girlfriend, Kimber, on her first camping trip this weekend.

If the weather holds out and he is able to secure a camping permit, Blight is hoping to pitch his newly purchased tent somewhere in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

"(She) is from Korea. She's never been camping before or done a campfire," he explained. "We're going to make s'mores and hot dogs and camp out in a tent. It's going to be nice."

DeBois-Hearndon said there are still be some dates available through mid-September. For more information visit stateparks.utah.gov/reservations or call 800-322-3770 toll-free from outside the Salt Lake City area or 801-322-3770 within the Salt Lake City area.

For camping information on national forest land, visit www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r4/recreation/?cid=STELPRDB5357977 or call 801-625-5605.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com Twitter: JasenLee1

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