Stay safe on the trails during COVID-19
During these unprecedented times, people all around the world are turning to trails to clear their heads, get some exercise, and enjoy the spring sunshine. As a result, trail use is surging around the tri-state. You might be wondering, is this safe during the pandemic?
Do your part for everyone’s health
Parks and trails are one of the few places that remain open to the public, aside from essential businesses. Current medical and public health guidance indicates that engaging in physical activity outdoors is a safe way to maintain health and wellness in response to COVID-19. Here’s the catch—we all must refrain from gathering in groups and maintain a safe physical distance of at least 6 feet from other trail users.
Social distancing measures and the looming threat of the current public health crisis can negatively impact our mental health. Fortunately, getting outside in parks and on trails has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. So, in places where there are no restrictions on the use of trails, you can (and should) continue to enjoy them!
Find a trail less traveled
The popular trails are going to be packed. Now is a great time to explore a trail that’s new to you–we can help with that.
Even so, most of our region’s trails are 8 to 12 feet wide, which can make passing in a crowded setting difficult to maintain proper 6 feet separation. While on the trail, warn other users of your presence as you pass, and step aside to let others pass. Using a bike bell is encouraged!
What else can I do?
Here are some tips to ensure your adventure goes smoothly:
- Refrain from using parks or trails if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails. Wash those hands!
- Prepare for limited or no access to public restrooms or water fountains.
- Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
- Only spend time with people within your household. Even if other friends have also been self-quarantining, chances are, they (and you) have still had to go to the grocery store (including curbside pickup), so there is always a chance they (or you) have contracted the virus.
- Don’t risk getting wilderness injuries and diverting emergency care. Try to only take an easy day hike or bike in known and clear paths.
- Use local trails and resist travelling to trails farther than 50 miles from your home.
We encourage you to always follow the guidelines of your local government or the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whichever are more restrictive. Please note that guidelines may have changed since this post.
Trails Are Essential
Now, more than ever, trails are proving to be a valuable investment in our communities. We are proud to be leading the charge to make trails more accessible to residents across our region. You can support Tri-State Trails by making a donation today.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:Using Trails and Outdoor Spaces Safely in the Wake of COVID-19
National Recreation & Parks Association: Physical Distancing in Public Parks & Trails
American Hiking Society: FAQs for Hiking During the Covid-19 Pandemic