North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department Encourages Visitors to Recreate Safely

DEVILS LAKE NEWSROOM SPECIAL REPORT

The North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department wants to remind visitors to recreate safely during high fire danger conditions. The safety of the public and protection of the land, resources and facilities is the department's top priority.   

The department manages 13 state parks located across North Dakota. Burn ban restrictions for each state park come directly from the county in which the park is located and can be found online at ndresponse.gov/burn-ban-restrictions-fire-danger-maps. While restrictions vary in each county, most counties do not allow campfires during red flag warnings under high, very high and extreme fire danger conditions. It is also important to remember to stay parked on gravel or paved roadways in the park. Parking on the grass in primitive camping areas, at trailheads and in other grassy areas can cause issues during high fire warnings.    

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The department also manages the statewide off-highway vehicle (OHV) program as well as three designated OHV riding areas, including Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area, Turtle Mountain State Recreation Area and the Roughrider Trail. The department reminds riders that motorized trails are not entirely free of vegetation and present a fire hazard if grasses become wedged in the suspension or undercarriage of the vehicle. The undercarriage of your OHV can get extremely hot and start a fire if driving over dry grass.  Also, parking or idling engines and exhausts without spark arrestors may present fire hazards in our current conditions.  Information on trails, including closure information, can be found at https://www.parkrec.nd.gov/business/recreation-programs/highway-vehicles-ohv.  

Additionally, while users are out using the trails, the department encourages everyone to be safe and aware of their surroundings. Trail users are encouraged to let others know about their planned routes, estimated return times and location while out on the trails. Make sure to bring plenty of water and extra provisions along just in case your trip is prolonged or rerouted due to changing conditions.   

"We want to encourage people to recreate safely during these high fire conditions," states Andrea Travnicek, Director of the North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department. “It’s important to be aware of current conditions and follow all restrictions and safety measures when visiting state park properties.” 

The department continues to work with local, state and federal partners during the high fire conditions. For further information regarding fire status and burn ban restrictions, please visit www.ndresponse.gov.  

The mission of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is to offer a diversity of recreation opportunities and sustainably manage resources.    

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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