In our early June Compass, we covered Leave No Trace Ethics and also provided some examples of how we could apply that more specifically during times of COVID. Turns out, we weren’t the only ones thinking about that. A pretty amazing coalition – Recreate Responsibly – comprised of nonprofits, outdoor businesses, and land managers began to form in May in order to develop and share best practices to protect each other and our natural landscapes. The number of coalition members is now up to 650, and CoolWorks is proud to be one of them.
This coalition explains: “We are a diverse community brought together by our love of the outdoors and a desire to help everyone experience the benefits of nature safely during this public health crisis. The national coalition is a working group that looks to unify and amplify commonsense guidance about getting outside during COVID-19.”
Recreate Responsibly offers seven guidelines as a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself healthy and to maintain access to our parks, trails, and beaches. As a coalition member, we are sharing these guidelines with you, our CoolWorks Community. Please pass this information on to your outdoor-oriented friends and family. We need every outdoor voice spreading a unified message and consistent guidelines.
- Know Before You Go – Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it’s closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a back up plan.
- Practice Physical Distancing – Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you’re sick, stay at home.
- Plan Ahead – Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and face covering.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leave No Trace – Respect public lands and waters, as well as native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
Recreate Responsibly launched with the above six guidelines and then added a seventh, which they call a foundational guideline.
- Build an Inclusive Outdoors – Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
To take a deeper dive into this foundational guideline, we recommend this excellent article.
For those of you who have traveled to your summer seasonal jobs, the place where you are becomes your home community for the season. And as seasonal workers, we often take ownership in our new communities. You are the stewards of that land, wherever you find yourself in this moment in time. Setting an example for others in word and deed is not just a responsibility, but an honor. We must care for one another, be mindful of our impact on our lands and local communities to ensure that they remain for future generations to enjoy.