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Iowa DNR wants fairgoers to be safe outdoors this fall

Visit the Iowa DNR building at the fairgrounds to learn about outdoor recreation opportunities this fall and how to be safe while exploring.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local 5 and CW Iowa 23 are bringing exciting 2022 Iowa State Fair experiences to you, from live newscasts to an interactive Local 5 Weather Lab experience. Come see us in front of the Administration Building (Grand Concourse) each day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Iowa State Fair visitors have been lucky enough to experience the best of Iowa weather the past few days as they strolled around in the sunshine.

But even after the fair is over, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants to keep that momentum going. That's why they are encouraging Iowans to continue getting outdoors this fall. 

The department is showcasing several ways to get outdoors at the Iowa DNR building at the fairgrounds (west end of the Grand Concourse near Gate 11/E 30th St). Visitors have the opportunity to talk to DNR staffers and learn about ways to get outside and how to protect the environment. 

While visiting one of Iowa's many parks and rivers won't include corn dogs and cotton candy like the fair does, Iowa DNR Director Kayla Lyon says the state still has a lot to offer.

"There's plenty to do outdoors in the fall," Lyon said. "it's a perfect time when you think about camping, nice cool mornings ... and you have the extra bonus of the leaves changing." 

Lyon believes getting outside is one of the best ways to experience Iowa, and no fancy camping gear is necessary. 

"You can always start with training wheels in your backyard," Lyon said. 

A main priority for Iowans who want to explore the great outdoors is safety, especially when it comes to the state's many lakes and rivers

"We just want people to be safe when they go out there, because being out on the rivers is a really fun place to be, but it's an ever-changing environment," said Todd Robertson, an outreach coordinator for the Iowa DNR rivers program. 

In particular, Robertson urges anyone going into the water to wear a life jacket, not just hold on to it or keep it in your boat. 

"A life jacket isn't going to work if we're not wearing it," Robertson said. "We are all just in between swims when we're paddling." 

Robertson also recommends wearing plenty of sunscreen, drinking lots of water and being aware of the forecast for the day. 

Safety is also vital during Iowa's hunting season, which begins Sept. 1. 

"The biggest thing is gun handling and safely handling that in the field, making sure your muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction, always have a plan when you're out hunting and let people know where you're going and when you're going to return," said Dustin Eighmy, conservation officer for Iowa DNR. "

Eighmy also said hunters should make sure to wear the proper hunting equipment and always check the hunting schedule before heading out. 

For more information about outdoor recreation, visit iowadnr.gov or check out the Iowa DNR Building at the Iowa State Fair through Sunday, Aug. 21. 

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