How to Safely Spend Time Outside
We know that during these challenging times, everyone wants to get outside and recharge. One challenge we all face right now is how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly during this civil state of emergency.
All of our publicly accessible preserves and the Georges Highland Path are available for healthy outdoor recreation. Still, we all must do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent unnecessary stress on our Maine Warden Service, Forest Rangers, and first responders.
As spring weather arrives in Maine, it is critical that all individuals and families who head outdoors follow three simple steps. Before you hit the trail, cast a line, or launch a canoe, please be sure to:
Find the Right Time and Place
Know what’s close to home: Consider visiting a GRLT preserve in your area, a nearby Wildlife Management Area (like the Weskeag Marsh or Frye Mountain), or a less-trafficked state park. The Maine Trail Finder is also a great resource!
Check before you go: Visit websites to see the latest information on closures or conditions. Please respect all property closures.
Have a plan B: If the parking lot is full, the destination is too crowded. If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
Avoid peak times: Get out earlier or later in the day.
Recharge in your backyard and neighborhood!: Spring in Maine means there is a lot to see and explore right in our own yards.
Be Prepared Before Heading Out
Expect limited services: Facilities like public restrooms are likely closed, so plan accordingly.
Pack snacks and water: Do what you can to avoid having to make stops along the way.
Dress for success: It is spring in Maine, so trails are likely to be wet, muddy, slippery, or icy; bring appropriate gear to match the conditions. Local outdoor brands are open for online sales and are available to give advice on appropriate gear and equipment.
Don’t take risks: Stick to easier terrain to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources.
Watch out for ticks: Wear light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and apply EPA-approved bug repellent.
Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings
Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. If necessary, step aside when passing other people on the trail. And remember that groups of 10 or more are prohibited.
Don’t linger: Shorten your stay when visiting natural stopping points such as waterfalls, summits, and viewpoints so everyone can enjoy them while maintaining a safe distance.
Don’t touch: Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to minimize the potent spread of the virus.
If you’re sick, stay home: It puts others at risk when you leave home while exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus.
If we all follow these guidelines and put public health first, we can enjoy Maine’s natural resources in safe and responsible ways as we work through this difficult time together.