The World Is Reopening: Take Care Out There
COVID-19 has changed our world, and it’s changing the way people recreate.
We’ve all seen this in our everyday lives, but our longtime nonprofit partner Leave No Trace for Outdoor Ethics has put data behind it. Together with researchers from Pennsylvania State University, they are taking a closer look at national recreation patterns before, during, and after the pandemic, and have released their initial findings in a new report.
So, now that National Parks and recreation areas are opening back up (yay!), we turned to Leave No Trace and other trusted nonprofit partners to discuss how we can get back out there safely and responsibly. There are a lot of changing guidelines and changing understandings of what we're supposed to be doing outside — and how that relates to how we were doing things outside.
This past week we caught up with Ben Lawhon at Leave No Trace, along with folks at American Whitewater, Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Afro, and Forest Park Conservancy for science-driven data and guidance for a special KEENstream series of interviews (with fun tidbits like favorite Colorado microbrews and thought-provoking questions like “Would you rather be a reverse centaur or a reverse mermaid?”).
Check out the episodes below. We hope they help you as you plan a summer of fun.
EPISODE 1: Think Globally, Play Locally
On our first episode of “Take Care Out There,” KEEN Effect Philanthropy Manager Mark Steinbuck and Ben Lawhon of Leave No Trace talk with Mark Singleton of American Whitewater about how the onset of COVID-19 is reducing group size outside, changing how people recreate, and keeping folks closer to home.
Episode 2: Listening to the Man
Lace Thornberg of ONDA discusses how long people will wait before they return to their old patterns of recreation, which new patterns are here to stay, and how all of this can vary wildly depending on if you’re urban or rural.
Episode 3: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Outdoors
We chat with Brady Robinson of The Conservation Alliance to discuss how COVID-19 is changing what kinds of recreation we’re engaging in, as well as how long this pattern might stick around.
Episode 4: You Be You
Miriah Royal of Outdoor Afro highlights how important personal health factors into outdoor recreation during COVID, as well as how we are seeing smaller and smaller groups recreating.
Episode 5: Get Outside With Us
We're joined by Renee Myers of Forest Park Conservancy to discuss how to be a forest ambassador and how to love your own local spot versus loving it to death.
6 Ways to #RecreateResponsibly
1. Know before you go. Check closures before leaving home.
2. Plan ahead. Restrooms may be closed. Carry water, food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper (and remember to pack out anything you bring).
3. Practice physical distancing and wear a mask.
4. Play it safe. Stick to easier routes and familiar activities, and take all safety precautions.
5. Stay close to home.
6. Leave no trace. Be kind to others and natural areas. Leave No Trace principles are more important than ever with limited staffing.