It’s the unofficial start to summer, and campgrounds around the state are already packed full for the long weekend. With the extra bodies and outdoor activities, safety becomes a number one concern. A state park manager explains the steps they are taking to keep campers safe.
Just north of Lake Sakakawea, campers have claimed their spot for the big holiday weekend.
“We bring on additional staff for this time of year. The additional staff will help us with our eyes and ears out on the campground and help us meet and greet those people,” says Chad Trautman, Fort Stevenson Park Manager.
They work to keep the travelers safe.
“When summer comes, I’m greeting and seeing those same summer people I saw last summer and it’s kind of re-visiting with old friends,” says Trautman.
Like the Grubbs family.
“We’ve been coming every year since 2002,” says Rob Grubbs, aka “Pap.”
It’s a trip they look forward to each year.
“We go to the lake, go to the parks. We always go into Garrison, have to go into Ye Olde Malt Shoppe and have some ice cream,” says Grubbs.
With little ones in the picture, safety has become more of a concern.
“We just make sure we’re around the campfire, they don’t go near it by themselves. They’re not allowed to put wood in the fire. They have to stay with us. We also introduce them to it, make sure they understand, you know, the safety rules of being around a fire,” says Grubbs.
Trautman says burns are a common accident he sees during camping season, but they’re simple to avoid by just staying aware of your surroundings and keeping the fires small.
“We do remind them to keep them low and, at the end of the night, make sure you extinguish those fires before you go to bed,” says Trautman.
Another common safety hazard to look out for is the increase in bikers and pedestrians around the campgrounds.
“Bikers, when you’re biking, be careful when you’re coming through a blind corner. Always wear a helmet and just be slow and cautious -and drivers also,” says Trautman.
These extra precautions keep the weekend memorable for the right reasons.
“Just being with family, I think that’s what camping is all about,” says Grubbs.
Staying safe to enjoy more time together.
The Grubbs aren’t alone in their love of camping. According to statistics from the Kampgrounds of America (KOA), the number of households camping regularly has increased by over seven million since 2014.