The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 24, 2013


— Ah! Summertime. Despite tonight’s forecast for unseasonably nippy temperatures, the Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to warm weather activities. Pools open, vacation trips are planned and Dad is probably ready to break out the grill.

Summer in southern West Virginia is unparalleled in its beauty and seemingly endless outdoor activities. Raft, hike, bike, climb, swim, walk. Beautiful scenery, historic sights, powerful whitewater and placid lakes. They are all there for the taking.

But as you enjoy all that summer the Mountain State has to offer, we want to make sure you do it in the safest way possible.

Even in our lovely mountains, summer days can sometimes swelter. A quick dip in the local pool, lake or river is just the right cure. A fun swim can turn tragic in a heartbeat. Remember to follow common safety rules, obey lifeguards, forget horseplay and know how to help someone who gets into trouble. While placid and wild by turns, swift currents or unexpected drop-offs and holes in the riverbed have surprised many a swimmer. Sometimes with tragic results.

When hiking, biking or climbing, take a buddy.

Four-wheeling is also a favorite pastime in the region. We remind you to take care and follow the guidelines for your particular machine. And wear a helmet — it could save your life.

As people emerge from their winter den into the summer sunshine (we hope it’s a sunny summer that brings just the right amount of rain), the highways and byways will become busier. Day trips, staycations and real vacations will be the order of the day. We urge careful, cautious, defensive driving.

Holiday celebrations and vacations sometimes go hand-in-hand with a celebratory alcoholic beverage. If you drink on these special days — or any day — don’t drink and drive, or operate a watercraft. Make sure you have a designated sober operator for motorized vehicles.

Memorial Day is one of the great American holidays. We remember our veterans who gave their all so we can be free to enjoy a life of freedom. We remember our fathers, mothers, grandparents and all of those who have passed on.

Heed our words. Have a holiday everyone will remember because of the good things that happened.

Be here to enjoy Memorial Day 2014 when it rolls upon us.