The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and the Department of Natural Resources are highlighting Fireworks-Free Fourth of July events at Michigan State Parks for veterans and other visitors seeking a quieter holiday this season. Several state parks and recreation areas will participate July 1-4.
Since 2014, the MVAA and DNR have worked together to offer alternative camping options for those veterans and other visitors, including pet owners, looking for a calmer Fourth of July. These participating campgrounds are located farther away from traditional community firework displays.
For many people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, fireworks and other loud noises can trigger stress reactions. PTSD is a mental health response that may develop for some people after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as combat, a natural disaster, car accident or sexual assault.
Approximately 12 percent of military veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD, compared to 7-8 percent of the rest of the population. Any range of stressors can trigger any range or responses. For many veterans, the sights, sounds, and smells of fireworks can be a trigger to an unwanted stressful response.
“Helping veterans celebrate this extremely patriotic day without an unintentional trigger is one of the ways that Michigan can best support our nation’s veterans,” said Jennifer Lamb, MVAA’s strategic outreach manager. “We remind all veterans that there are treatments for PTSD and that treatment works. If there is a veteran who is struggling on July 4th or any other day, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text to 83825. If there is a veteran who is looking for services and does not know how to begin connecting to these services, call 1-800-MICH-VET.”
Camping reservations can be made up to six months in advance, which means that the window to reserve these campsites is already here. To check camping availability and make a reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757).
“The Department of Natural Resources continually works toward building a more inclusive outdoors,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “That’s why we’re proud to work with MVAA to highlight Fireworks Free Fourth, an opportunity for veterans and others to have a quieter, simpler Fourth of July celebration.”
The following parks will host *Fireworks-Free Fourth of July:
Bewabic State Park (Iron County)
Brighton Recreation Area-Bishop Lake Campground (Livingston County)
Cheboygan State Park (Cheboygan County)
Craig Lake State Park (Baraga County)
Hayes State Park (Lenawee County)
Lake Hudson Recreation Area (Lenawee County)
Leelanau State Park (Leelanau County)
Rifle River Recreation Area (Ogemaw County)
Sleepy Hollow State Park (Clinton County)
Tippy Dam Recreation Area (Manistee County)
Wells State Park (Menominee County)
*Fireworks-Free Fourth of July parks are located far from community displays; however, the DNR cannot guarantee that fireworks will not be set off near the state parks. Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets are not allowed in Michigan state parks at any time, but small, low-impact fireworks such as fountain fireworks, sparklers and ground spinners are allowed. To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth.
Learn more about services for Michigan veterans at MichiganVeterans.com or call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).