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Getting Outside Safely

When planning your next outdoor adventure, it’s important to expand your normal planning routine to ensure that your actions are also limiting your exposure to the virus, as well as limiting the spread of the virus. Some very basic things you can do include wearing a face covering in public places, staying 6 feet from others, washing or sanitizing your hands often, and staying home if you’re sick. Another key is to minimize your group size. Oh, and we can’t believe we’re saying this, but avoid carpooling if you’re recreating with friends outside of your immediate social group. Meet up at the trailhead instead.

Beyond these basics we have some recommendations to make your outing more fun and less frantic, including ways to avoid crowds and minimize unnecessary interactions.

Plan ahead: Gas up at home and bring snacks and drinks with you. Plan for the unexpected including closed or under-maintained facilities by bringing water, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, trash bags and the necessary equipment to “go” outside.

Make camping reservations: Maybe in the past you relied on first-come, first-served campsites or free dispersed BLM land camping. The former are experiencing huge popularity, which reduces your chance at getting lucky, while the latter is experiencing unprecedented use resulting in littering and human waste issues. Right now, it’s best to go the old-fashioned route and make a campsite reservation. Go online at ReserveAmerica.com and Recreation.gov or, for more diverse offerings, try Hipcamp.com.

Research new destinations: This is a great time to bypass popular destinations, flip through guidebooks and maps to find unexpected new destinations. Before embarking on your adventure, make sure the location is open and confirm it’s safe to visit and is currently welcoming to visitors.

Head out during off-peak times: A great way to avoid crowds and better your experience is to adventure out early in the morning and on weekdays.

Have an alternate plan to avoid crowds: If you get to where you’re going and all you see is crowds of people with the same idea, keep moving to the next spot. It’s important to have a backup plan to avoid overcrowding.

Wear a mask: When social distancing isn’t possible mask up—think trailheads, scenic overlooks, narrow bridges and the like.

For further tips on outdoor safety and minimizing your impact click here

Annie Fast writes about winter sports and outdoor adventures from her home in Bend, Oregon.You can read more about her and her work at anniefast.com