Enjoy the outdoors this Labor Day

Since its creation in the late 19th century as a celebration of American workers and their achievements, Labor Day has marked the traditional end to summer. The holiday gives workers some valuable time off, an opportunity to head out to their favorite campsite, lake or beach for one last hurrah. No matter the time of year, it’s important to keep safety in mind when you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Camping is one of the most popular summer activities, and with so many state parks to choose from, Michigan is a premier destination. Campers should be sure to leave their campsite better than they found it, and that includes using safe campfire practices. Remember, nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people.

As citizens of the Great Lakes State, Michiganders are never far from water. If you’re planning on boating over the holiday weekend, review these important boating safety tips. Drowning is the cause of death in 76% of all boating-related fatalities, so wear a life jacket, boat sober and stay alert while you’re on the water.

Be mindful of high water levels on the Great Lakes and other waterways, too. They can turn a day of family fun into an emergency situation. Before you head out, brush up on beach safety. Pay close attention to the color flag warning system at designated state park swim areas. Just like traffic lights, green means go, yellow means caution and red means STOP. Do not enter the water or swim if a red flag is posted – stay on the beach and safely enjoy the last days of summer.

Whatever your Labor Day holiday plans, be mindful of your surroundings and have an emergency plan in place. Get more information about safe recreation at Michigan.gov/DNREducation in the Safety Information section.