Should I stay or should I go?
For us, like many of you, recreation on our public lands is a welcome stress relief in busy and troubled times. As of April 27, Colorado’s “Stafer at Home” order allows for, “…participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties.” You may be thinking this is an ideal opportunity to “social distance” and head into remote parts of the backcountry for a while. However, before you set out on the trail, there is MUCH to consider. We look to our friends at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics for some guidance as many of us find additional time on our hands and a desire to be outside. We also have some thoughts:
1. Stay local. Many communities, especially rural towns with limited services, are ill-equipped to handle an influx of visitors right now. The safer-at-home mandate only allows for travel 10 miles or less from your home.
2. Stay up to date on official governmental guidance. Guidance is changing on a near-constant basis. Be sure to follow the latest local, state, and federal guidelines for your area.
3. Do I have cell service where I’m going? In this time of health crisis, local emergency management officials already have their hands full. If you get lost or injured, mobilizing an extensive search-and-rescue operation is the last thing they need.
4. Stick to lower risk activities. Now is not the time for risk-taking. Stay within your comfort zone for everyone’s sake.
5. Social distance everywhere. Chances are someone else is also a fan of your favorite trail or scenic vista. Even outside in fresh air, maintain 6+’ distance between your neighbors.
6. Remember how important your favorite trails, parks, and public lands are to you, and how much you missed them, and pledge to give back to them when this is all over.
We’ll leave you with a few other interesting articles – feel free to do the same!
PS – The Paonia River Park remains open for day use. Please visit responsibly and help us maintain our community gem!