Welcome to summer — erh, well, Memorial Day weekend anyway. And that means the kids are out of school, fish are in the rivers and it’s time for us to get under way with our extended spring — hopefully summer — on the Kenai Peninsula.
Before you leap off the sofa and on the area’s roads, trails, beaches and waterways, we’d ask you take a moment and make sure you’ve taken the appropriate safety precautions.
While it is tempting to rush out to the next adventure in search of summer fun, midstream is not the time to find out that the life jackets are missing; miles from the trail head is not the place to discover that the first-aid kit has not been restocked.
So take a moment and think about what things you ran out of last year, and what could be a good addition to that camping pack, car trunk, boat bow or other outdoor accessory.
If you’re camping this weekend, be bear aware. Bears have awakened from their long winter nap and are hungry and aggressive. Also, moose and caribou are entering their calving seasons and will be extra aggressive in protecting their young. Keep your distance — a photo isn’t worth a trip to the emergency room.
Campers should also make sure they are being safe with their campfires — it has been a wet spring, but the Peninsula already had a few brush fires a few days ago. Things can get out of hand quickly, so keep an eye on any fires you start and make sure you have water nearby.
If you’re headed out on the water, make sure your boat and gear are in good working order. If you fancy yourself a fisherman and are heading down for one of the salmon openings on the southern Peninsula, be sure to wear eye protection and be cautious while wading and walking along the beach.
If you’re planning to celebrate the holiday with a few drinks, be responsible, designate a driver and remember that alcohol and firearms never mix — ever.
To that end, drivers should prepare for increased summer traffic and the inevitable delays caused by road construction. Leave yourself extra time to arrive at your destination.
As you approach one of the numerous construction zones popping up around the Peninsula, slow down and keep your ears and eyes open for workers who’s safety depends on you.
Also, keep an eye out for motorcycles, put down the cell phone and don’t lose your cool.
Patience and courtesy will go a long way toward getting everyone safely to their destination. The death toll on our roads over the past few years has been way too high.
In short: The holiday weekend should be a fun one. Taking a few moments to make sure you’re prepared — and prepared to be safe — goes a long way toward ensuring it turns out that way.