The first three-day weekend that starts off the summer recreation is upon us and I want to stress to everyone a word of caution. Roads and reservoirs could become very crowded this weekend. This could really up the stress and frustration factors of your holiday adventure. Alcohol consumption, heat and other elements may bring out some of the worst in human behavior. Keep this in mind while sharing your outdoor experience with others. Here are a few things that I would like to toss out in hopes they make your Memorial Day Weekend confrontation and hassle free.
1. Your favorite music selection and automobile hi-fi system may not be as admired by those around your campsite as much as you think. Be considerate and play those radios and CD players at modest level.
2. Avoid confrontations. There will be some fist-a-cuff occurrences out there in the campgrounds, state parks and even the roadways. Even though I butt heads and point out rules at my fishing destinations most of the year, my goal on the 3-day bashes is to simply keep my mouth shut. Violations are reported to authorities and they can deal with bubba and his ragingly drunk posse shooting firearms at midnight in the state park.
3. Assume everyone is drunk. Rather than trying to determine which vacationers are intoxicated and likely to use poor judgment, it is far easier to assume everyone is drunk and will eventually come close to burning down the entire forest. Making assumptions is generally misleading but will keep you on your guard near your campsite or on the road this weekend.
4. Bring your cell phone pre-programmed with agency numbers for backup. Operation game thief is your best bet when it comes to limit breakers and other types of bad behavior at your fishing spots. 1-877-COLO-OGT. It is also a great idea to plug in the phone number of managing agencies, local officials and even the marina where you are planning to be. These folks may be able to give you a hot tip in moments of desperation or at the very least come to your aid in time of emergency. Having the numbers plugged in makes it a quick call.
5. Know your limits and stay within them. I see a lot of people overdo things on these 3-day weekends and wind up spending most of it in the hospital. Hiking, swimming and even prolonged hours of fishing are extremely tough on a body that is severely dehydrated, malnourished and\or inebriated by large amounts of alcohol. Someone is going to push it too far and pay a heavy price this weekend. Don’t let that person be you.
Hopefully most of Colorado’s outdoor natural areas will suffer only a little damage from the public onslaught that occurs every Memorial Day. The fisheries that have been fairly untouched as of yet may look downright haggard afterwards. Trampled trails, broken tree lines and endless amounts of debris are a given. Shorelines covered with anglers and 3-days of full limits can really take a toll on the smaller metro ponds that I fish. Some places will look rode hard and put away wet. Like an old horse these places can only tolerate so much heavy use before they become lame. Hopefully folks will tread lighter, leave less trash and take less fish this Memorial Day weekend. But most of all I wish that everyone be cautious and safe this first 3-Day weekend bash of the summer.
Good Luck and Good Fishing!