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Forest Officials Encourage Safety During Independence Day Holiday

(HOT SPRINGS)  Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forest officials are reminding visitors to make safety their number one priority when enjoying the outdoors during and after the holiday.

“Before heading out to the forest, it is important for visitors to do some research on the areas they plan to visit,” said Robert Duggan, Ozark-St. Francis National Forests recreation supervisor. “Research includes looking at the weather forecast, taking the necessary items needed if they plan to go hiking, and visiting National Forests websites for more information.”

For more hiking tips, visit the Forest Service’s “Know Before You Go” page at https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/hiking.

During the holiday weekend, many people will be using fireworks to celebrate. However, using fireworks in the National Forests is prohibited year-round.

“We welcome visitors to come enjoy the forest during the Independence Day Holiday by participating in recreational activities which include swimming, hiking and camping,” said Bill Jackson, Ouachita National Forest recreation program manager.

Hikers, campers and recreationists are reminded to be careful with any use of fire in the outdoors and ensure that campfires are watched at all times and completely extinguish them before leaving campsites.

For additional information on opportunities on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, call (479)964-7200 or the Ouachita National Forest at (501)321-5202 or visit the web at www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita or www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf.

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