Tips on Enjoying Public Lands *Safely* During COVID-19

We hope this message finds you safe, healthy, and doing as well as possible given the circumstances. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and we adapt to our new “shelter in place” norms, we want to encourage you to take good care of yourselves, to stay as active as you can, and to enjoy the nature that’s nearest to you.

While many of us may be feeling compelled to go for that epic hike we’ve been putting off for months, or take a road trip to a distant coastline, we want to remind you that nature often begins where we are; with a plant on the window sill, a flower in the front porch, or the insects buzzing in the backyard. More than ever, it’s important to remember that we don’t always have to go to parks to be connected to nature. When the opportunity to spend some time on public lands does present itself, however, we want you to do so safely.

As you may have already heard, multiple regional parks in the Bay Area have been temporarily closed to limit overcrowding and maintain public safety. We want to avoid any further closures, but know that we need to reduce the number of visitors to overcrowded areas and change human behavior in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When visiting parks, trails, beaches, and other open spaces, please follow these guidelines to ensure a safe environment for all:

  • Social distancing: Keep a safe physical distance of at least six feet from people you do not live with.
  • Go solo or only with people you live with: This isn’t the time to hold even small social gatherings on public lands, as that could increase community spread of the virus.
  • Avoid the crowds: Look for nearby nature to enjoy, the closer to home the better.
  • Share the wealth: Whether it’s sharing trails and yielding to others in order to maintain a safe distance, or limiting your time on public lands so that more people can have a safe experience, please keep your larger community in mind.
  • Leave no trace: Pack out what you pack in, as garbage collection is currently very limited.
  • Use common sense: Stay at home if you or others in your household are feeling sick.

Upholding these behaviors will enable us all to continue benefiting from the outdoors during this crisis. We invite you to forward these tips to your friends, family, and professional networks, as well as to share our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts on the subject.

Wishing you and yours the very best,

Youth Outside