CAMPTON — The Fourth of July is one of America’s great landmark holidays, celebrating our nation's independence. It is also a great time to enjoy the White Mountain National Forest.

“We understand that a lot of local Independence Day celebrations have been canceled and that people will want to do their own fireworks displays; however, we are asking your help, as good stewards of your public land, in reducing any chance of wildfire by not setting off fireworks on the White Mountain National Forest,” said Jamie Davidson, White Mountain NF Acting Supervisor. "Setting off fireworks on National Forest lands is not only hazardous but prohibited. We appreciate your support in protecting our public resources.”

If you’re planning a camping trip remember these campgrounds are in forested environments and it is important to store food properly in closed/locked vehicles or bear containers. Although many visitors and campers never encounter a bear, the Forest is their home and bears can quickly become habituated to human food. Improperly stored food not only attracts bears to people currently camping at a site, but lets the bear know that it can find food at that campsite in the future. It is vital that you keep a clean campsite to ensure bears and other animals don’t forage for your food. Read the rules and signs about bears posted at campgrounds and trailheads, and follow the instructions on how to properly store food. Free bear canister rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis at all of the Forest Service offices and visitor centers. Bears that get too used to people may have to be trapped and relocated or even killed. Remember, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Even if you’re just planning a short hike remember to hikeSafe. Severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening, and the weather in the White Mountains can be unpredictable. Check the forecast before visiting, and if need be consider postponing your hike - the mountains will be there another day. At any time of year you should be prepared with warm clothing and good rain gear.

For information to help you plan a safe hike go to the hikeSafe website. For information about the White Mountain National Forest visit fs.usda.gov/whitemountain. For more information about bears, visit the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department: wildnh.com.

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