In the spring of 2018, Montana State Parks released a statement announcing the “temporary emergency closure for Smith River State Park due to unsafe floating conditions.” The notice went on to explain how ice continued to jam some areas of the Smith River, creating an extreme hazard for anyone on the water.
The Parks division was doing its due diligence to protect the public on its premises, and in this extreme case, prohibited entrance to the property because of extraordinarily dangerous conditions. Staff members at state parks recognize their responsibility for the safety of the public and the liability for incidents that happen on the premises. They also encourage the public to be aware of ever-changing conditions in the natural environments they oversee.
How to prepare for a day at the park
What can visitors to parks do to steward the outdoors well and increase safety on the premises? Montana State Parks says stay alert and prepare well. Before heading out on a trail or on the water, check the weather forecast. Prepare for sudden changes in conditions by packing a change of clothes and including rain gear, if necessary. Charge cell phones and keep them close by at all times.
How to avoid incidents with wildlife
Knowing what to do if wildlife appears on or near trails is another necessary preparation for a day in the park. Montana State Parks reminds visitors never to approach wild animals. They survive – and thrive, even – when humans do not interfere with their natural routines. When park visitors camp, they should remember to clean up their sites well, not leaving any scraps or trash that might draw wildlife.