The Fourth of July weekend will find many people heading for their favorite campsite to celebrate the nation's birthday. And, said Loyal Clark, Uinta National Forest spokeswoman, "The wide variety of National Forest campgrounds will be open and ready for holiday visitors."
Areas within the forest provide numerous opportunities for recreation and relaxation. While exploring these areas, Clark urged holiday visitors to tread lightly to minimize damage to resources. One or two thoughtless acts can harm the forest's beauty or create an erosion problem. Damage to watersheds can reduce soil productivity, and sediment entering streams can kill fish and destroy their reproductive habitat.Vacationers may want to check their Camp Stamp supply to be sure they have enough for the trip. Camp Stamps can be purchased at Forest Service offices in Heber, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Spanish Fork and Nephi as well as Timpanogos Cave Visitors Center, Strawberry Visitors Center and all Smith's Food King stores. They provide an easy, convenient way to pay camping fees in advance and save money. Those using Camp Stamps receive a 15 percent discount on campground fees. Visitors may still pay by cash or check at the site, but must pay the full amount.
All areas on the forest are operated on the pack-it-in, pack-it-out principle. Visitors are responsible for hauling trash home where it can be disposed of properly. This effort on the part of visitors saves taxpayers thousands of dollars annually.
"Cooperation with this program helps reduce operating costs and makes money available for other activities. Participation has been very good. Most people realize that leaving a camp or picnic site at least as clean as when they arrived benefits everyone," Clark said.
All areas of the forest are now extremely dry. Recent winds and hot days have dried out the vegetation, making it exceptionally susceptible to fire. When leaving your camp or picnic site, be sure that all fires are completely out.
Use or possession of fireworks of any kind, including sparklers, is prohibited on National Forest System lands. Federal law provides a fine simply for possession of fireworks.
Parents should warn their children about playing with matches or fireworks. Parents are liable for fires caused by their children on National Forest System lands, and may face a fine for total cost of suppressing the fire and restoring the resource.
"Please stay in tune with what your children are doing so a thoughtless act doesn't end up spoiling a fun vacation," Clark said.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by their local Forest Service office to receive the latest recreation and camping information before traveling into the forest.