Now more than ever, our favorite Montana outdoor spaces are playing an important role in our lives.

Whether you're enjoying public lands or just recreating in your back yard, you want to protect the land you love by playing it smart and keeping it safe. And before hitting the trail or just going to a public park, there's lots of little things you can do to make it an even better outing.

We were given a tip on a website that has a lot of information about keeping safety top-of-mind. And while most of it is rather obvious common sense, it's a thorough refresher with lots of good advice. Some examples:

Respect local guidelines and restrictions when it comes to stay-at-home orders, forest and park closures and fire restrictions. Check for closures before you leave the house.

Find a local park or trail that offers enough space for social distancing.

If you decide to leave your neighborhood, plan for several alternate locations, so if you arrive at your first one and there are crowds, you can move on.

Choose a less busy time of day, such as early morning.

When visiting your local park or forest, please adhere to CDC guidelines and respect social/physical distancing recommendations.

If the parking lot at your destination is full, that’s a good sign the park or trail is too crowded to safely recreate. Consider visiting an alternate location.

When parking at your destination, observe parking guidelines and remember, never park on tall, dry grass—the undercarriage of your car is hot and can start a wildfire.

While pulling a camper, boat or trailer, remember to cross your tow chains. Sparks from dragging chains on pavement can start wildfires.

If local regulations allow for campfires, always utilize existing fire pits and never leave your campfire unattended. Before leaving your campsite, make sure to properly extinguish your campfire by: drowning it with water, stirring it, drowning it again, and using the back of your hand to check if the embers have cooled completely.

There's lots more, some of which could be educational moments for your kids. If you're interested, check out the Be Safe Outdoors website.


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