This Independence Day, visitors to Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are reminded to plan ahead and leave fireworks at home when heading out to federal public lands.
Fireworks and other explosive devices are illegal on public lands. Even small, seemingly innocent fireworks such as sparklers can start wildfires. Violators can have fireworks confiscated or receive citations.
“One of the most unique things about the Gorge is the fact that the National Scenic Area includes vibrant communities in close proximity to public lands,” said Lynn Burditt, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area manager. “Attending a local fireworks display in one of our Gorge communities would make an excellent finale to a day experiencing public lands.”
Most wildfires in the Gorge are human-caused, so people using the outdoors, be it public or private lands, can help reduce risks with these simple practices:
• Do not bring fireworks or other explosive devices, including sparklers, onto federal lands.
• When smoking, always dispose of cigarette debris in some type of an ashtray.
• Attend campfires at all times, with water and a shovel nearby. Any time you leave the area, put out the campfire to the point it is cool to the touch. Build campfires only in cleared open areas.
• Avoid driving and parking in tall grass or on roads with heavy fine fuels accumulations. Exhaust particles, hot exhaust pipes and hot catalytic converters can start grass fires.
• Maintain proper tire pressure, as exposed wheel rims can throw sparks.
• Sparks from dragging chains, exhaust from ATVs and motorcycles can start grass fires. Spark arresters are required on all recreational and portable gasoline-powered equipment.
Planning ahead and preparing can improve visitor’s experience and safety during their outdoor adventures. The Columbia Gorge Express will offer transit to Multnomah Falls from Friday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 4 from Portland’s Gateway Center and Rooster Rock State Park. The Skamania County WET Bus offers transit on Saturday and Sunday that connects several communities and trailheads on the Washington side of the Gorge.
Bring life jackets if you are boating on a river. If you are hiking, bring the 10 essentials, respect signs, barriers, and closures and take precautions near steep drop-offs. Maintain awareness and a safe distance from cliffs when taking photographs or selfies. Watch for poison oak and do tick checks on yourselves, your children, and pets. Dog owners are reminded to bring a leash and bags and pack out their pet’s waste. Although leashes are not required on all trails, they can help keep your pet safe near the many steep slopes and cliffs in the Gorge. More tips are available at ReadySetGorge.com.
Find interactive maps, alerts, and information on Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area recreation sites at www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa. Follow our updates at facebook.com/crgnsa or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/crgnsa.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection.