Safety in the Sun: Exercise Caution When Recreating Outside This Holiday Weekend


While we honor the brave service members who gave their lives to protect this nation, Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial start of summer and many Californians will flock to the outdoors, including local, state and federal parks.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants all who visit parks this weekend to exercise caution, especially following severe winter and spring storms that brought record snowpack and damaging winds statewide.

Some outdoor areas and sites may see extended closures due to snow levels, flooding or road damage.

Cal OES emphasizes a few tips to help make the most out of your outdoor recreation.

Know Before You Go

It’s important to know what conditions are at your favorite sites and trails.

  • Use websites and social media to check for road closures and park conditions
  • Check the weather before your trip so make sure you’re dressing appropriately and packing anything you may need if conditions change
  • Know what routes you plan to take and make sure someone at home knows where you’ll be

Pack Essential Items

Never head outdoors without packing the essentials. Plan for weather and conditions changes and pack accordingly.

  • Bring plenty of food and water, including extra in case you end up out there longer than you plan
  • Bring extra clothing for changing weather conditions
  • Ensure your cellphone battery is completely charged before you head out
  • Pack a headlamp or flashlight

Always Be Aware

It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings. Many parks and hiking trails have lakes or rivers nearby. Conditions could change rapidly and it’s important to be prepared. This spring and summer, local waterways may see higher than normal levels with extremely cold and fast-moving water.

  • Do not enter cold, fast-moving water, it can be dangerous for even the most experienced swimmers
  • Do not drive or walk through moving water. Even 6 inches of moving water can knock a person down and 12 inches can carry a car away
  • Don’t enter the water to help someone else who has fallen in. Call emergency services right away

Additional Resources

Cold Water Safety

Road Conditions

California State Parks

California National Forests