More than half a million visitors are expected to be in the area for Monday’s total solar eclipse. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross and U.S. Forest Service Fire Prevention Officer Jaye Gilmore discuss how people can safely enjoy this astronomical event of a lifetime.
Gilmore says the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area will see the busiest visitation period in it’s history this Monday. The Forest Service has spent a year and a half preparing for the influx and is emphasizing the importance of fire prevention. They ask that those who build fires keep them small and those bringing trailers or boats make sure their chains are secure to prevent sparks. Gilmore asks that people leave fireworks at home and adds that they are never permitted on national lands. She also stresses the danger of ticks, advising visitors to bring tick repellent, and suggests long pants and sleeves to prevent contact with poison ivy.
Gilmore has five safety tips for enjoying the eclipse:
1. Have a plan. Know your route before you go and anticipate heavy traffic. A regular 20 minute trip could take up to an hour the day of the eclipse.
2. Be prepared. Make sure to bring your solar eclipse glasses, sunscreen, plenty of food and water, and a printed map. Cell phone service and GPS devices may not function under the high demand.
3. Be safe with fire. Keep fires small and away from low hanging branches. Do not park OHVs or ATVs on grass as their exhaust systems can spark a fire.
4. Leave no trace. Minimize your impact on the land by planning ahead, traveling and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, and respecting wildlife.
5. Have Fun!