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OPO Covid Recommendations

Many people are asking if it is OK to go for a run, a hike, a bike ride, or a walk on the beach right now. Outdoor recreation - even going for a walk - can be important in maintaining physical and emotional health. Whether and how you get outside depends on many factors, including:

  • Your personal vulnerability and the vulnerability of those you are spending time with.
  • Your location, as some states are currently under shelter-in-place orders.
  • Your access to local, uncrowded outdoor spaces.
  • How your abilities interact with all of the above.

If you choose to recreate outside, the Outdoor Programs Office would offer the following recommendations:

  • Remember to keep your distance from others. Conservatively, this means six feet of distance from anyone you aren't living with. This can be challenging on city sidewalks, so please be cautious.
  • Seek lightly-used areas close to home. With so many folks not working, popular trailheads around the country are seeing record-breaking use - often to the dismay of land managers and rescue teams. Rural health systems often aren't equipped to handle many visitors - plus out-of-town visitors may bring the coronavirus to areas where it has not yet spread. Stick to nearby areas and be prepared to turn around if you see a crowded parking lot.
  • Take it easy. Whatever outdoor activity you pursue, now is the time to reduce your risk tolerance. Even sprained ankles place demands on health care systems already strained for staff time and protective equipment. Think mellow thoughts.
  • Expect closures. Many parks, campgrounds, and recreation areas have closed or significantly limited staff time. This could mean closed or unserviced bathrooms and overflowing trash cans; be prepared for few amenities and pack out your own trash.

Adapted from recommendations published by Leave No Trace.

More sources you may find useful:

 

Last Updated: 6/2/20