Recreating responsibly during a pandemic
With COVID-19 an ongoing concern for hikers, WTA joined a coalition of stakeholders to develop best practices for recreating responsibly right now.
Here are the seven tips to help you hike responsibly right now. Making these temporary changes will help keep everyone healthier.
If you're sick, please stay home and take care of yourself. We hope you recover quickly.
- Know Before You Go
Use WTA's Hiking Guide and the sidebar here to plan. If it's closed, don't go.
- Plan Ahead
Choose a couple of alternate locations in case your first choice is crowded. If your alternates are also packed, use WTA's Trailblazer app to find another trailhead near you. Be sure to notify whoever you left your hiking itinerary with of the change.
Pack hand sanitizer and a face covering. Wear the covering when you can't give passing parties more than six feet of distance.
Pack a lunch and any extra treats you will want on the way there and back.
Restrooms might be closed. Go before you leave home, and bring supplies to manage things if nature calls while you're out there. If necessary, brush up on how to poop in the woods. If you wipe after a pee, go a more sustainable route: get a Kula cloth or use a bandanna.
- Practice Physical Distancing
When you see approaching hikers, look for a spot where you can get off trail and maintain 6 or more feet of distance. As long as you're briefly passing one another, risk of transmission is low, and even lower with your mouth and nose covered.
Let them know If you're coming up behind someone, a polite, "On your right (or left)!" will do. If you're coming towards each other, make eye contact. Trail etiquette states the person going uphill has right of way, but not everyone knows this. If there's confusion, talk it out.
Give each other space and cover your mouth Try to step aside in a place where you can get well out of the way of each other without trampling trailside plants. Cover your mouth while you're passing. A wave or a "thank you" is a nice way to acknowledge each other afterwards.
- Play it Safe
Choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are still responding to the pandemic, and we don't want to put any extra pressure on them.
- Recreate Close To Home
In stressful times, being able to get to nature quickly is important. Use our Hike Finder Map to figure out where there's greenspaces near you.
- Build an inclusive outdoors
Be active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities. Trails are for everyone.