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With temperatures and gas prices continuing to rise, many of us are looking for inexpensive and fun ways to spend our summer. Right here in West Texas, we don't have to look far to find some great places like our State Parks and Lakes.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is advising all Texans to play it safe when spending time in the great outdoors. Last year alone, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department responded to 102 heat-related incidents they responded to at state parks.

The numbers for heat-related incidents are ahead of last year's numbers

As for this year from January 1st to date, there have already been 54 heat-related incidents reported at state parks throughout Texas and we're not even halfway through summer yet. If you are going to spend any time in the great outdoors, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Rangers recommend you stay hydrated and follow these "Heat Hacks."

Texas State Parks Tips for Staying Safe

  1. Stay Hydrated - One must drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour in the heat of the day just to keep from dehydrating. Furthermore, if you have a pet with you they too must be hydrated.
  2. Protect Yourself from the Sun - The sun's rays we'll also dehydrate you not to mention the fact that you will suffer from sunburn. Park Rangers recommend using sunscreen or sunblock prior to going outside and reapplying it every couple of hours and after swimming or sweating.
  3.  Dress Appropriately - Wear loose-fitting, light-clothing and forget your headgear like floppy hats and wet bandanas around the neck to help keep you cool. Let's not forget to protect our pets, the trails are blisteringly hot, so put booties on your furry friends whenever they're walking outside.
  4. Eat Proper Snacks - Carry trail smart snacks like granola, jerky, protein bars, dried fruits and nuts, and any canned meats like tuna or chicken.
  5. Never Hike Alone -  The buddy system is the best way to go into the great outdoors, whether you're camping or hiking, heat-related illnesses can occur at any time. While looking after your buddy and your buddy looking after you, keep a close eye on your pets as well.
    Source: TPWD

Make your plan and share your plan. Get a map of where you're going and share that map with family and friends. Call the State Park ahead of time and check on the place you will be hiking or camping at.

Additionally, check the weather forecast as well. There is nothing worse than getting caught outdoors in the middle of a storm. If thunder or lightning begins head indoors or to a safe place.

For information on heat safety, hiking, camping, or visiting our awesome Texas State Parks visit the TPWD website.

Photo by: Google Maps
Photo by: Google Maps
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