5 Things You Should NOT Do on Memorial Day Weekend in Montana
Many Americans confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day, as I discussed back in November. Both involve our servicemen and women, but one is for those we've lost and the other celebrates living Veterans. Either way, I encourage everyone to at least pause for a moment during this upcoming three-day weekend to think about what the extra day off is really about.
Memorial Day is not about drinking beer, hitting the lake, or going camping. Although, for most of us, that is exactly what we'll be doing this weekend. As you prepare for the unofficial summer kickoff, here's your friendly reminder about some common sense things to NOT do this Memorial Day Weekend in Montana.
Do not go to the park.
Yellowstone National Park is great. It's also really, really crowded. Memorial Day is a busy weekend and most of the park still has tons of snow. Our preference for hitting Yellowstone is late summer. Or next weekend. For that matter, any weekend except Labor Day and Memorial Day are better options.
Don't drink and drive.
This one seems like a tough habit to break in Montana. We like to drink, with 61% of us admitting to drinking alcohol in the last year (one of the highest percentages in the US) and sadly we're #1 in the nation (per capita) for alcohol-related traffic fatalities, according to a press release from Addiction Treatment Magazine.
Don't fish without a license.
Avid fishermen get their license every year, but if you only fish occasionally (like when you're camping at the lake this weekend) you may think you can get away without buying a fishing license. And you might. But you might very well get caught. MT FW&P will be out and about and they will be checking for licenses. Ask me how I know. The fine can be up to $1,000 (no less than $50) and honestly, why wouldn't you just buy the very affordable license and help support our fishery management?
Do not forget the drain plug in the boat.
My brother has owned boats for 20 years. He's certainly not a newb. Last summer, I was with him as we were debuting the boat for the season on Canyon Ferry. About halfway across the lake, we notice the boat was bogging down. Badly. Long story short, it's a miracle we didn't sink the boat in the middle of the lake.
Do not count on awesome weather.
Retail marketing for national brands always hype the "kickoff to summer" on Memorial Day Weekend, with images and messaging about pools, lakes, camping, and the scorching heat of summer. In Montana, we're like a month behind those blazing summer temps. There is always a good chance it will rain/snow/thunderstorm/blow on Memorial Day Weekend somewhere in Montana. Plan accordingly.