OUTDOOR REPORTPublished July 2, 2020

Find Your 4th Of July Adventure In Wisconsin

Have a safe 4th of July! - Photo credit: DNR

EDITOR's ADISORY: Because of the agency's need to focus on news alerts during the COVID-19 pandemic, regular distribution of this weekly e-newsletter will be limited until further notice.

Summer is in full swing and we're excited to welcome you into Wisconsin's outdoors this holiday weekend. With over 6 million acres of public land to explore, there's something here for everyone.

Here's what you need to know before you head out to find your adventure at one of our over 100 Wisconsin state park system properties:

Share your adventures with us on social media by tagging us in your pictures and using #OutWiGo.

Boy having fun in a small boat.
Boat Responsibly: Wear A Life Jacket

What starts as a perfect day for boating can quickly become hazardous if you end up in the water. Kayaking, fishing and waterskiing are just a few of the ways Wisconsinites enjoy getting out on the water. This summer, make sure safety is part of your plan.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, drowning is the top cause of death in most recreational boating fatalities, and the majority of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. In 2019, 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Most people who drown in boating accidents know how to swim but become incapacitated in the water.

The good news is that today's life jackets are much more comfortable than they used to be. You can find lightweight and stylish options at your local marine supply retailer or even online. New varieties include belt packs and other low-profile jackets. These new varieties make movement a breeze and come in many sizes, styles and shapes for every person and every sport. There are even options for pets.

Important Reminders

All life jackets must be:

Learn more about boating safely in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/boat/boatsafetytips.html

We'd like to remind you that fireworks are prohibited on state lands including state parks, forests, state-owned public hunting grounds and fishing properties.
Exercise Safety This Holiday Weekend & Keep Fireworks Out Of DNR State Lands

Are fireworks part of your Fourth of July plans? We'd like to remind you that fireworks are prohibited on state lands including state parks, forests, state-owned public hunting grounds and fishing properties.

"For the safety of our guests and our natural resources, and in accordance with state law, fireworks are prohibited on state properties," said Chris Madison, chief ranger with the Wisconsin State Park System. "Although Fourth of July favorites such as the sparkler and the snakes are not defined as 'fireworks' per state law, we discourage their use because they are a fire hazard."

Even if you're celebrating at home or on private property, we encourage you to exercise caution to help prevent wildfires now and during the next few weeks.

Exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets and roman candles, cause the most fireworks-related wildfires. In hot and dry weather, even sparklers and fountains pose a significant threat in dry, grassy areas. Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out but also for any damages.

Fireworks are restricted in Wisconsin, and permits may be required. Check with local officials before purchase and usage. A city, village, town or county may also have ordinances that strictly limit fireworks sales or possession.

At the end of June, fire danger levels throughout Wisconsin were low across the state, but fireworks could increase those numbers. This year, records show nearly 500 wildfires in DNR fire protection areas of Wisconsin. Although wildfires caused by fireworks amount to just 5% of the annual total, these fires typically occur in a condensed time frame around the Fourth of July holiday.

A boat moves across the water in front of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin with the skyline in the background.
DNR Wardens Join Local Boat Patrols For July 4 Safety Weekend

Boaters and paddlers enjoying Wisconsin's waters during the Fourth of July weekend will see more state conservation wardens and local boat patrols spreading education and enforcing the state's safe boating laws as part of the annual national Operation Dry Water.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Bureau of Law Enforcement will join local law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to help keep Wisconsin's water safe this holiday weekend.

Launched in 2009, Operation Dry Water is an awareness and enforcement campaign to educate boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Held annually during the popular Fourth of July holiday, the campaign is not limited to these few days.

A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and deadlier for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or fall overboard.

Boaters can learn more about boating under the influence by visiting https://www.nasbla.org/operationdrywater/home. Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Last Revised: Thursday, July 02, 2020

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