How to be Outdoors: National Forests in the Age of Coronavirus

Cheesman Reservoir yesterday.. almost 20 years since the Hayman fire (see background).
Here are some pragmatic guidelines from the State of Colorado for outdoor activities during coronavirus. I’m wondering how similar these are to others.

*If you are sick, stay home. Follow CDC guidelines and avoid spreading the virus to others.

*Keep a social distance from others. Coloradans have access to 41 state parks that offer a variety of outdoor activities. CPW recommends activities done alone or with people that live in your home, such as walking, hiking, biking and fishing. These activities can be enjoyed while keeping you at a distance from others. CDC recommends six feet of distance from others.

*Avoid high-risk or remote activities. Accidents stemming from high-risk types of activities may require extensive resources. Colorado Search and Rescue teams are prepared and ready to respond, but could become overloaded if the number of calls increases and the number of available responders decreases. Being responsible outdoors can also help prevent additional burdens on our first responders and healthcare workers.

*Announce your presence to others. Help maintain the recommended six feet of social distance. Signal your presence with your voice or a bell when passing others.

*Stay regional. Front Range residents should avoid traveling to the high country or small mountain communities that are closed to visitors.

*Avoid times and places of high use. To avoid creating large crowds and groups at popular trails or outdoor areas, spread out to less popular spots, and avoid times of highest use if possible. If an outdoor area is more crowded than anticipated, do not hesitate to adjust plans. Use COTREX to discover and explore other local trails in your area to help disperse traffic.

*Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and cover coughs with your elbow.
Be kind, say hi. The risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected with race, ethnicity, or nationality. Blaming others will not help fight the illness. Do your part to be kind, say hi or wave hello, respect your fellow humans when you are out on the trail in these challenging times. Share smiles!

Leave a Comment