As parks, trails, and forests begin to reopen, it can be confusing to navigate this “new normal” in terms of how to recreate responsibly. To help give all of you outdoor enthusiasts more guidance during this time, we’re joining REI and other partner organizations to support their #RecreateResponsibly initiative. The Recreate Responsibly Coalition is a newly formed coalition of nonprofits, outdoor businesses, and land managers developing and sharing best practices to protect each other and our natural landscapes.
The Recreate Responsibly Coalition has released guidance to help us all enjoy the outdoors safely. Here we’ll break down what each of the suggestions mean:
Know before you go
Since the status of available activities is changing on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis, be sure to frequently check the safety of the location you plan on visiting. If the park or place is closed DO NOT GO. If you arrive and it’s crowded, make sure you have a plan B in place.
Make sure that you’re preparing for every outcome. Parks might still be open, but that doesn’t mean their facilities are. Bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face mask, and be mindful of that fact that bathrooms may be closed. If restaurants are not open as well make sure that you’ve packed food for your outing too.
Practice physical distancing
Only adventure with your immediate household. If you come across other outdoor enthusiasts be sure to give each other plenty of space and wear a face mask if necessary. If you are sick, stay home.
Play it safe
Be sure to choose lower-risk activities for your outings that will reduce the chances of injury. Healthcare resources are currently strained, so avoidance of emergency calls is incredibly helpful to not only the healthcare system but potential search and rescue teams as well.
Stay close to home
Since most locations are only open for day use and not overnights, it’s important to stay close to home. Staying nearby also lowers the chance of potential disease spread to areas where there aren’t active cases.
Leave no trace
As always, please respect public lands and the communities you visit by making sure to take all of your garbage with you when you leave.
Help build inclusive outdoor spaces
The outdoors are for everyone – regardless of age, race, identity, background, or ability. Safety outside isn’t just about bringing a face covering and making room on the trail. It’s also about being inclusive and welcoming to all. Play an active part in making the outdoors accessible by traveling with Wilderness Inquiry. Your trip helps provide equitable outdoor access for those without the same opportunities.