Plan Ahead and Play It Safe for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

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Outdoor recreation is in high demand as visitors seek experiences among the nation's public land and water destinations in record numbers. Planning ahead and understanding what to expect for your trip is more important now than ever. Visitors also have an opportunity and responsibility to respect these special places and each other along the way.

In this article we offer helpful tips and recommendations so you can make lifetime memories (the good ones) on your next outdoor adventure: Embrace Safety, Plan Ahead, Manage Your Reservations, and Be Kind and Courteous to All.

A guide to planning and preparing for an epic outdoor trip

Embrace Safety

An Army Corps of Engineers ranger fastens a life vest onto a young girl

John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir (Joshua Davis, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Knowing what to expect as you plan for a safe visit to public lands and waters across the country will help ensure you arrive ready. These are just a few safety tips and reminders, but it is best to thoroughly read descriptions and important trip planning information of the places you plan to visit from the experts who live and work in those areas.

Plan Ahead

Two backpackers sit with their gear and prepare a meal in a meadow

Manti-La Sal National Forest (Stella Klaus, Share the Experience)

The outdoor recreation landscape has evolved with more people discovering natural spaces and falling in love with these special places. Adapting to higher demand requires a bit more advanced planning and can help reduce stress when traveling, especially to popular locations.

Manage Your Reservations

A pull behind camper is set up in a desert campground on a starry night

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (John Vermette, Share the Experience)

We hope you enjoy your reservation, but we all know life happens – things come up (especially these days). As courteous visitors to public lands, please cancel your reservation if you do not intend to use it. This opens space for others!

Heads-up! Visitors who do not arrive at the campground by a certain date and time and do not cancel, may forfeit their reservation, and are assessed service fees. These service fees are returned to the managing agency for care and upkeep of the facility. Learn more about standard campground policies from participating agencies.

Be Kind and Courteous to All

A large group of adult hikers pose for a photo

Bryce Canyon National Park (Lin Chao, Share the Experience)

Let's all take a pledge to make our outdoor and cultural spaces a safe, welcoming, and respectful space for all. This includes taking care of the lands and waters, as well as those who choose to recreate within these spaces. Here are just a few tips from our Recreate Responsibly friends for being a kind and courteous camper. 

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