AUSTIN (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife wants to offer safety tips for those visiting state parks and hiking trails during the summer months.
For park visitors and hikers, the TPWD wanted to offer this guidance as temperatures hit triple digits in parts of the state.
- Hydrate– It is important to drink at least 16 ounces of water per hour in the heat to replenish your body and prevent dehydration. Remember to bring enough for pets.
- Block the rays– Apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunscreen before going outdoors. Be sure to reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Dress smart– Wear light, loose and breathable clothing; a hat, decent shoes, sunscreen and wet bandanas to keep you cool when out in the sun. For pets, protect paws from blisters by walking the trails during the cooler hours of the day when the ground is not hot or by putting booties on pets to help protect paws from hot ground. Touch the pavement or the ground with the back of your hand. If you can’t hold it for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.
- stay salty– Food helps conserve energy and replace salt lost through sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, tuna and dried fruit is a fantastic way to fuel your body on the trails.
- buddy system– It is beneficial to have someone with you in warm conditions so that you can take care of each other on the trail. With the high temperatures hitting Texas, heat-related illnesses are common, and having a friend around to help you recognize early symptoms can save you from getting sick.
- Plan ahead– Study the map and have it with you, avoid relying on your phone for maps as the service may not be available in rural areas. Average hikers travel at two miles an hour, so allow plenty of time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Be sure to rest in a cool or shady place to recover heat if needed. It’s also a good idea to let someone know your plan before you hit the trails and when you should be back. That way, if you get lost, people will know where to look.
The TPWD said dogs are also sensitive to heat, so bringing enough water and snacks to last the entire trip can also help keep them safe.
According to TPWD, in 2021, 43 state parks reported 102 heat-related illnesses in people and pets, and since January 1, 2022, 54 heat-related incidents have been reported so far, compared to 34. reported around the same time last year. .
You will find more information on thermal safety here.
Reservations at Texas State Parks can be done online here or by calling the Texas State Park Reservation Center at 512-389-8900 weekdays during regular business hours. Overnight reservations can be made up to five months in advance and day passes can be booked up to 30 days in advance.