Winter is here; however, it may look a lot different than what we’re used to. As we prepare to strap up for the next hiking, skiing, or snowboarding trip, the new year comes with new challenges and safety regulations that needs to be taken account of to enjoy this winter wonderland. Winter is known to be an unpredictable season and weather can swing drastically making safety an even bigger concern. With hospitals overwhelmed with patients, it is strongly recommended that you practice safety and recreate responsibly.
If you’re planning to visit a national park, we encourage you to visit NPS.gov and safety guidelines to stay informed of what’s accessible and when.
Stay Close:Follow your state and county orders that are governing the open state of the are you’re looking to visit. Try not to travel out of state.
Keep your distance:The reopening of state parks may lure in more crowds. Give others and yourself plenty of room when hiking and following social distancing guidelines for staying 6-feet away from others.
Leave No Trace:This is something we’re all familiar with but even more important during COVID-19. Remember during these times, park resources and are limited so be sure to pack everything in and out.
Know your limits:Avoid challenging hikes or new activities while first responders, parks, and communities continue to respond to the pandemic.
Plan ahead:Most facilities will be closed, be sure to pack lunch, hand sanitizer, wipes, and face coverings.
Do not approach wildlife:With most of the population staying at home, there has been an increase in wildlife activity around city and wilderness areas. Keep a distance and do not approach.
Between large-gathering bans and shortages in grocery stores, prepping for festivities and holidays is difficult this year for many and probably the last thing on our minds. But just like with any outdoor sport or recreational activity, reacting and making the most out of every situation is in our nature. Coincidentally, upcoming holidays like Easter and Passover celebrate not only renewal and rebirth but resiliency and redemption—the boundless spirit of life itself. Sure, the parties maybe smaller, or the traditional egg hunt may be cancelled due to the limited supply of eggs. Still we can gather however we are able to, whip up celebratory meals or order delivery, and plan games and activities for the kids.
During last week’s announcement when officials declared outdoor activities such as hiking safe from the bans and closures as long as we practiced social distancing, this gave us a brighter way in dealing with the outbreak. Getting some exercise and taking our minds away from the overcrowding of supermarkets and cooking your 17thmeal of the day, would at least keep us calm, let alone sane.
As the week progressed, trails became overcrowded and deemed unsafe and closures started to be implemented by many parks. Parking lots, trail heads, and even the remote zones were closed to the public. We are now advised to now stay home.