The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourage safe 4th of July recreation

PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages outdoor enthusiasts to recreate responsibly and safely this holiday weekend. With reservoirs throughout Oregon near normal capacity and many areas now reopened, Corps officials are expecting increased activity on its water and land-based recreation sites.

“The fourth of July is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be one of the most dangerous weekends of the year,” said Park Ranger Christie Johnson.  “This year, with COVID-19 still a concern and most public holiday events cancelled, we want to make sure that people who come out to recreate understand the risks and are prepared.”

Corps park rangers would like to remind the public of the following safety guidelines:

Be prepared. Some parks have limited access to amenities and services so bring your own personal protective supplies including hand sanitizer, soap, water, face mask, and disinfectant wipes.  Not all areas are open for camping and parking may be limited so have a plan B.

No fireworks. Do not bring your personal fireworks as use of fireworks is prohibited on Corps land except through special event permits. Additionally, all public fireworks events scheduled at Corps reservoirs have been cancelled this year.  Burn bans may be in effect in some areas so plan accordingly.

Be mindful of social distancing. Recreate safely in this COVID-19 environment and stay home if you are exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms.  Recreate locally and only with those in your household, avoid crowds and gathering in large groups, maintain a six-foot social distance from others and utilize facial coverings as often as possible.

Wear a life jacket! Calm waters and nice weather is when most people drown and nearly 90 percent of the drowning’s that occur at Corps managed waterways involve people not wearing a life jacket. Drowning is preventable. Remember, all activities near water are risky so regardless of your swimming or boating abilities, wear your life jacket.  Be alert and aware of posted restrictions around dams because even though the water may look calm, cold water combined with currents circulating underneath the surface and hazardous floating debris can pull you under the water or trap you against log jams.  Alcohol and water are a deadly combination so play it safe this Fourth of July and recreate responsibly.

To learn more about Portland District Recreation opportunities, please visit and for more water safety tips go to  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @PortlandCorps.

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