Six “Recreate Responsibly” Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors Safely During COVID-19

A newly formed coalition of outdoor groups created the Recreate Responsibly initiative to share ways for Americans to stay healthy while enjoying public lands, parks, trails, waters, and other outdoor areas. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans are spending time outside because of the mental and physical benefits that fresh air and nature provide.

As state officials reopen outdoor spaces, people want guidance on how to reduce the risk to themselves and others while enjoying time outside. 

Specifically, the Recreate Responsibly initiative is designed to limit new COVID-19 outbreaks and ensure public lands and waters can remain open to the public by providing clear, consistent guidance for individuals, families and communities.

The following tips are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local public health guidelines and recreation experts:

Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a plan B.

Plan Ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering. 

Stay Close to Home: This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. Most places are only open for day use. 

Practice Physical Distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.

Play It Safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained. 

Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities and take all your garbage with you.

The Recreate Responsibly Coalition is a newly formed partnership of nonprofits, outdoor businesses and land managers developing and sharing best practices to protect each other and our natural landscapes.

Building off the work of the Washington state coalition, which formed to provide guidance to the public as Washington’s public lands were slowly reopening, the national coalition is a working group that looks to unify and amplify common-sense guidance about getting outside during COVID-19.

The national group includes partner organizations representing a diverse community of outdoor groups and advocates committed to helping all Americans navigate new norms and experience the benefits of nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To learn more, visit recreateresponsibly.org.

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