Opinion: Summer rules

Summer officially began this week. Time to fire up the barbecue, head to the lake, and enjoy the sun.

However, without becoming a total buzz kill, here are a couple of points that seem to need repeating every year.

First: Be careful out there.

The Chilliwack/River Vedder is as inviting on hot summer days as it is potentially deadly. Without a personal floatation device, a fun outing on the river can quickly turn to tragedy. Underwater snags, shifting gravel bars and strong currents all point to a river that must be treated with respect. And that includes keeping it alcohol free. Water and alcohol simply do not mix. Not only is it unsafe, it’s illegal.

The summer sun is great, but remember it can also can be a killer. Don’t leave your pet in a vehicle for any reason, for any length of time. An open window and a bowl of water won’t help an animal trapped in a hot car.

Remember, too, that the sun we miss so much during the winter rains packs a wicked punch. Recent reports indicate that instances of skin cancer remain high, despite years of warnings. So if you’re going outside, even if the clouds creep in, wear some sunscreen.

Second: Be respectful.

The simple rule – pack it in, pack it out – seems lost on far too many people. Enjoy that early morning coffee by the river, but don’t leave the empty cup on the bench for someone else to dispose of.

Gathering up all the garbage and leaving it in a green garbage bag by the roadside is a nice thought. But it only makes it more convenient for the bears and raccoons. There is no roadside pickup on forestry roads. Better to take your garbage with you and not count on the kindness of volunteers to clean up your mess.

And speaking of which: if it’s your dog, what’s left behind is your responsibility. Chilliwack has some spectacular parks and walking trails; they’re not made better studded by dog feces.

Chilliwack is a great place to be in the summertime. A couple of simple rules – keep it safe, stay respectful – can make it even better.

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