Staying Safe in the Outdoors This Summer with Dr. Kelly Goonan

Staying Safe in the Outdoors This Summer with Dr. Kelly Goonan

June 11, 20182 min read

Summer is here and outdoor enthusiasts are ready to hit the trails, explore the backcountry and spend some time in nature. As you prepare for your next outdoor adventure, Dr. Kelly Goonan, Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation at Southern Utah University, has a few tips to stay safe and happy.

“With long days and open schedules, summer is the time of year for many people to get outside. It is also the busiest time of year for many of our parks and other recreation areas. With the following tips, you can have an enjoyable experience while staying safe and helping protect these special places.”

Do your research and plan ahead: the best sites to visit are the official agency sites like and These sites are regularly updated and should have correct, accurate information.

Check the weather: summer in Utah can vary greatly, with intense sun and heat during the day and dangers of lightning and heavy rain during the monsoon season. Pay attention to flash flood warnings and know the weather conditions in your area.

Protect the place by leaving no trace: with so many people enjoying the outdoors during the summer, it’s important to make an effort to minimize your personal impact. Visit to learn about Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics and how to minimize the impact of your visit to help protect our special places.

Above all, Goonan recommends enjoying the journey without distractions. Take the time to notice the small things on the way to “the view.”

“Nowadays, most people are seeing our landscapes and cultural sites through lenses (or screens) instead of through their eyes with #nofilter (except for maybe sunglasses). While it’s fun to take photos to share your experience or remember your adventure, try to take time to view the place with your eyes and not your camera. If you have the time, find a spot to sit and let it all soak in: the plants, birds, wildlife, smells in the air. You’ll be surprised what you notice when you slow down and focus on the moment instead of the destination, and it will make the destination all the more spectacular.”

A self-described “hybrid recreation ecologist/recreation social scientist”, Dr. Goonan’s expertise is in the management of outdoor recreation, natural resources, and protected areas. She is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit her profile.


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  • Kelly Goonan
    Kelly Goonan Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation

    Outdoor recreation expertise with outdoor safety tips, planning national park visits, and planning and management of outdoor recreation.

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