Guide to a flawless Fourth

JACKSON, WY —  The Fourth of July is upon us! It’s one of the busiest and most exciting days in Jackson for visitors and locals alike. It’s also often extra busy for local law enforcement and emergency responders.

With so much going on, it helps to plan ahead and always have a plan B. Luckily, there’s plenty of fun to be had for people of all ages.

Festivities 

The 4th festivities actually start on the 3rd. Don’t miss free music from Whitewater Ramble with opener Aaron Davis and the Mystery Machine tonight at 7 p.m. at Teton Village’s Concert on the Commons stage.

Start your day on the right foot at the annual 4th of July 10k. Runners and walkers of all skill levels are invited to jaunt down the beautiful Fish Creek Road in Wilson. The race starts at 8 a.m. at Owen Bircher Park.

Re-fuel after your run at a 4th of July Breakfast with the Jackson Hole Lions Club on the Town Square. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, and more from 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. $5 for kids ages 4-7, $10 for people 8 and older.

Of course, the day’s main event is the annual 4th of July Parade. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Snow King Avenue and make its way down Millward, Broadway, and back on Willow.

The Jackson Hole Rodeo will throw a special 4th of July rodeo at 8 p.m. Cowboy/girl boots encouraged.

And then, of course, there are fireworks. Snow King Mountain puts on the fireworks show in town every year, and this year is no different. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort also puts on a show at Teton Village. The Village fireworks show is preceded by a free concert! The Jazz Foundation of Jackson Hole will start at 4 p.m., Calle Mambo will take the stage at 8 p.m. with high-energy Latin and Salsa music. Fireworks will start at 10 p.m.

Safety

Buckrail has been fielding safety tips and reminders all week from various law enforcement and management agencies. The gist is this: fireworks are still illegal in Teton County (except the official ones at Snow King and Teton Village). Town is going to be crowded. The river is inherently dangerous. Fires are always possible. Whatever you choose to do, do it wisely.

Alcohol is popular on the 4th of July, but remember to drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive. That goes for boats and bikes, too — the legal limit (.08) is the same as if you were driving a car.

If you’re camping, be sure to put your fires all the way out — that means out cold. Fire pits should literally be cool to the touch before being left alone. The best way to put out a fire is to pour water over the flames and stir it in with the dirt to saturate the embers with moisture. Volunteers have already put out dozens of warm campfires this summer, and fire danger just went up to moderate this week. Considering more than 80% of wildfires are human-caused, those little warm embers can have huge consequences.

Going on the river? The Fourth of July is one of the busiest river recreation days, which means it also has the potential to be a big river rescue day. The Snake River is only 57 degrees Fahrenheit right now — that’s cold. Hypothermia can set in quickly. Various log jams and new channels have sprung up between Pacific Creek and Dead Man’s in Grand Teton National Park, so navigate safely.

Remember that each boat on the river must have as many Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) as people on board the craft. The Snake River Fund along with Teton County Parks and Recreation are loaning PFDs at South Park Boat Ramp all day. All boats floating in Grand Teton National Park must pass a mandatory boat inspection to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Learn more about GTNP’s inspection and permit process here.

Check out Buckrail/Dave Hansen’s River Report to help plan your day.

Finally, Jackson Fire Marshal Kathy Clay expects highways to be extra busy. If an emergency does strike, Fire/EMS needs to be able to move quickly. Drivers, be extra mindful of other cars, motorcycles, cyclists, and wildlife on the roads.

Spending the day in Yellowstone National Park? YNP’s public affairs office offers these five tips to stay safe and protect the park:

  1. Leave fireworks at home. Fireworks are not allowed in Yellowstone.
  2. Plan ahead. Campgrounds, lodges, and parking lots fill early. Finding a place to sleep at the last minute is unlikely. Check the park website at Plan Your Visit for more information.
  3. Pack your patience. Drive defensively and cautiously. Enjoy the ride and allow for extra time to get from one place to another. Check for updates at Park Roads. Expect long lines and crowds during peak times of the day. Visit busy sites in the early morning or late afternoon.
  4. Extinguish your campfire. Campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings in the 11 developed campgrounds and most backcountry campsites. Campfires must be extinguished and cold to the touch after use. Fire danger is moderate.
  5. Take the Yellowstone Pledge! Stay safe and protect the park. Put these tips into action:
    • Give wildlife space. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals.
    • Follow the beaten path. In thermal areas, stay on boardwalks and established trails. People have been severely burned and killed after leaving the boardwalk or reaching into hot water.
    • Be bear aware. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Be alert, make noise, hike in groups, and stay on trails.
    • Watch out for water. Use caution around rivers, lakes, and streams.
    • Practice safe selfies. No picture is worth hurting yourself, others, or the park. Be aware of your surroundings whether near wildlife, thermal areas, roads, or steep cliffs.

 

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