The New Guide to Getting Outdoors Responsibly

The global coronavirus pandemic has pulled outdoorists in nearly every direction–it’s hard to keep up. First, we stayed home and closed the parks. We camped in our backyards, started gardens, rediscovered the joy of neighborhood walks. We rallied together for a greater purpose–and your friends at Outdoor Advocacy Project are proud of how you showed up.

Now, the outdoors have begun to reopen. As some stay-at-home orders begin to lift, we are starting to venture back out there–but figuring out how to get outdoors responsibly and safely during the pandemic can feel like an overwhelming task.

That’s why we joined the Recreate Responsibly Coalition to launch #RecreateResponsibly, a set of six guidelines designed to help you get outdoors while protecting yourself, others, and the places you love. Check it out:

In addition to these guidelines, we have a few expanded thoughts on how outdoorists can best show up for our community right now:

  • Respect Indigenous communities and avoid traveling to or through. The Navajo Nation has more COVID-19 cases than nearly any other place in the U.S, and lacks many of the resources needed to protect their community. While we should absolutely not be traveling to Indigenous spaces, the boundaries of Native communities aren’t limited to reservations. Take your consideration a step further and consider that Navajo Nation President Nez penned this letter pleading for folks to avoid Grand Canyon area despite the park’s reopening.
  • Be a compassionate communicator and lead by example. First, be an open communicator. Set clear expectations with those you are interacting with, and be respectful of others who may be feeling more restrictive than you. On social media, continue to avoid shaming and call-outs, especially with people you don’t know personally –– these may feel satisfying for you, but unless you’re engaging in a conversation where you listen more than you lecture, just, don’t. Lead by example and. remember that #RecreateResponsibly is a set of guidelines, not a social media policing weapon.
  • Remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Yes, parks and recreation are opening back up–but we must remain and pragmatic when we make decisions. The pandemic isn’t over. Continue to lower risks and your adventure footprint as much as possible.
  • Be extra courteous to rural outdoor recreation communities. The folks in places like national park gateway towns and mountain towns are hurting right now. This pandemic has been an assault on their economy and small businesses. While it remains crucial that we minimize contact and are self-sufficient during outdoor outings, it’s also important to consider that these places are re-opening to tourism not just so you can play, but so they can start to rebuild. It’s complicated, but worth remembering to find ways to give back to these places and recreation communities.

When you choose to recreate responsibly, you are doing your part to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.  No one wants to see our parks, trails, and beaches re-closed, and we can all do our part to take care of each other and these places so we can maintain access. We all have a shared responsibility to care for these places and ensure they remain for future generations to enjoy. Lead by example and join us committing to #RecreateResponsibly this season.

Want to help spread the movement–especially as Memorial Day approaches? We built a toolkit with infographics, suggested posts and messaging, social media graphics, gifs and more to make it easy to share the stoke. And there’s a Spanish version too!

Toolkit in English: https://bit.ly/RRenglish
Toolkit en español: https://bit.ly/RRspanish

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Author: OAP

Katie Boué is a Cuban-American outdoor advocate, freelance writer + social media expert, professional adventurer, climber, public speaker, former van-dweller, and public lands wonk. She is Miami-raised and traded flat Florida swamps for a life of exploring mountains, camping in the desert and playing in the snow. Boué currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT with her partner Brody Leven and dog named Spaghetti.

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