Silver City, NM, June 27, 2014--The 4th of July Holiday weekend is just around the corner and the Gila National Forest offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation from hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking. "The 4th of July holiday weekend is a great time to spend time with friends and family to enjoy all the wonderful recreation activities the Gila National Forest has to offer." says Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell.

Campgrounds across the Forest from Quemado Lake Recreation area on Quemado Ranger District, to Snow Lake on Reserve District, to the Pueblo Park area on Glenwood District, Cherry Creek area on Silver City District and Lake Roberts Recreation area on Wilderness Ranger District are welcoming families for fun outdoor experiences. Dispersed camping opportunities abound throughout the forest, too.

Many hiking, horseback riding and backpacking adventures are available in the Gila, Aldo Leoplod, and Blue Range Wildernesses. Maps and information are available at all ranger district offices, the Gila Visitor Center, and at the Gila Forest Supervisor's Office in Silver City.

On the 4th of July in Silver City, see Smokey Bear's 70th Birthday Cake in the Silver City parade starting at 10:00 a.m., come meet Smokey Bear at the Ice Cream Social at the Silver City Museum from 12:00-1:00 p.m., and visit the "Gila Wild" exhibit in the Silver City Museum commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Visitors are reminded that fireworks are never allowed on federal lands. Fire danger is still very high and Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect. Campfires are only allowed in developed recreation areas in agency provided metal fire rings, grills or stoves. Also an Emergency Closure Order is in effect for the Signal Fire area. For information on all closures and restrictions, go to: Gila National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/gila or contact the Forest directly at 575-388-8201.

Russell also adds "4th of July weekend is a time to celebrate our Nation's Independence and have fun, although being safe and remembering that fire danger is still 'Very High' is important, too. I appreciate all the efforts that our visitors have taken this year to respect the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions and keeping fires to a minimum."

Live from Silver City

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