During these challenging times of COVID-19, we are itching just as much as you to get outdoors and connect with nature. In fact, one of our core beliefs at the Greenway Trust is that when we are connected with nature, our lives are better. However, as our community comes together to deal with an unprecedented global crisis, it means we need to take unprecedented actions to adjust our behaviors in the interest of public health. We must all work together and #RecreateResponsibly to keep each other safe and ensure that our parks, trails, and forests stay open.
Information on How to #RecreateResponsibly
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives and caused a great deal of uncertainty, including how we get outdoors. This new set of guidelines will help us protect ourselves, others, and places we love when we adventure outside. Whether you are hiking, paddling, or riding (a horse, mountain bike, or an ORV), these seven tips offer advice on how to #RecreateResponsibly during this public health crisis:
- Know Before you Go – Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a back up plan.
- Plan Ahead – Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
- Explore Locally – Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
- Practice Physical Distancing – Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
- Play It Safe – Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
- Leave No Trace – Respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
- Build an Inclusive Outdoors – Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
Help the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines reach far and wide. Share your commitment to #RecreateResponsibly by using the hashtag on social media, or download the toolkit and share the guidelines on your own social media channels. You can also check out additional resources for specific user groups.
Pitch In For National Public Lands Day
The summer of 2020 has set records for recreational usage across the entire state of Washington. While it’s great to see so many people connecting with nature, we are all witnessing the unfortunate impacts that come with overuse, such as an overabundance of trash. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and our partners have been working hard over the last several months to spread the word about how to #RecreateResponsibly, and we’re excited to present an opportunity for people to get out and make a difference: National Public Lands Day 2020!
Considering the pandemic, we will not be hosting an in-person event in the Middle Fork Valley for National Public Lands Day as in past years. Instead, we’ve transformed this day into a week of giving back through individualized volunteering. This year’s focus will be on a simple individual action we can all take to address a BIG problem: trash. Because what better way to show public lands some love than by cleaning them up?
From September 19-26, we are encouraging individuals to pitch in by (safely) picking up trash from parks, trails, and other outdoor spaces. Because this is focused on individual work, members of the public have the option to stay close to home and pick up litter from a local neighborhood park or take supplies to clean up where they’re already recreating out on the trails. All public lands are important, and they all need our help to keep them beautiful and accessible for future generations.
Alternative Ideas To Do From Home
At the Greenway Trust, we believe that when we are connected with nature, our lives are better. You may not be able to recreate in all the same ways you used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without this important element of your life entirely. The recreation community is coming together to support one another and frequently sharing creative ideas for how to get your nature fix during the pandemic. Try out some of the ideas below and check back often . . . we’ll continue to update this list as more resources are created by outdoor enthusiasts like you!
Recreation Planning & Training
- Start Dreaming of Future Greenway Adventures – Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
- Home-bound Hiking Workout: Ideas for Staying Trail-Ready – Washington Trails Association
- Eight Ways to Train Indoors – Cascade Bicycle Club
- Research future backpacking meals – Washington Trails Association
- Plan Now, Hike Later – Washington Trails Association
- Greenway Book Recommendations – Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
- Books, Movies, and Podcasts to Bring the Outdoors Into Your Home – REI Co-op
- Entertainment Ideas to Stay Connected to the Natural World – Green City Partnerships
Skills & Learning
- 3 Trail-Worthy Skills to Teach Your Hiking Pup at Home – Washington Trails Association
- Backyard Restoration & Gardening Resources – Green City Partnerships
- Learn About Ecological Restoration – Green City Partnerships
- Check out this Virtual Education Center, with TONS of different resources, online courses, and more! – The Mountaineers
- Macro Photography Tips – Washington Trails Association
- Become a Citizen Scientist at Home – Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
- Explore Seattle’s trees with the free Tree Walk mobile app, go on a scavenger hunt, or print a coloring sheet – City of Seattle
- Check out our Virtual Education Program for video lessons and activities – Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
- Junior Ranger Activity Sheets – Washington State Parks
- Noxious Weed Coloring Book and Bingo Card – King County
- Native Plant Word Search and Crossword; and Native Bird Word Search – King County
- Nature Exploration & Activities for Kids – Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center
- Environmental Education & Youth Activities – Green City Partnerships
- 9 Ways to Bring Outdoor Joy Into Your Life Right Now – Washington Trails Association
- 10 Webcams for Your Nature Fix – Washington Trails Association
- Ways to Get Outside – Green City Partnerships
- Ways to Take Action & Show Up for the Environment – Green City Partnerships
- 5 Tips To Turn Your Neighborhood Stroll Into An Adventure – Washington Trails Association
- For When You Just Can’t — 3 Ways to Get Outdoors While Doing Absolutely Nothing – Washington Trails Association
- Connecting With Nature Through Journaling – Washington State Parks