Participating in safe outdoor activities is more important than ever for our mental and physical health. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or plan to head out to your local park for the first time, continue to recreate responsibly by focusing on activities that are closer to home. Stay healthy while spending time in our treasured natural spaces by following these sensible suggestions for outdoor safety this summer.
1. Plan Local Fishing Trips
Look for places to fish and boat that are close to home. In other words, limit your long distance travel this summer and spend time learning about less pressured local spots. You can use the places to fish and boat map, check Facebook fishing groups, find books on local outdoor resources, or contact local stewardship groups. Be sure to confirm beforehand that the spot you want to visit is open to the public by checking with your state fish and wildlife agency or state natural resources agency for updates on COVID-19 restrictions. If possible, plan to fish or boat on weekdays when there are fewer people on the waterways to reduce the impact on our ecosystems.
2. Go for a Hike on Local Trails
In addition to local fishing and boating trips, you can find nearby hiking trails to explore while keeping outdoor safety in mind. This might mean a short trip to a public, state or national park, or just spending time on a trail in your own neighborhood. Always practice social distancing when on the trails and follow the guidelines of your local government or the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
3. Take a Boating or Water Safety Course
Sign up to take a recreational boating safety course. There are organizations and companies that offer socially distanced recreational water safety classes at a low cost or even free of charge. You can also check with your state fish and wildlife agency to see if they have a list of approved courses. Even if you’ve been boating for years, a refresher course is a good idea. Be sure you know and understand the navigational rules of the road before leaving the dock for your first summer boating trip.
There are plenty of safe outdoor activities that you can participate in while sticking closer to home this summer. Take advantage of this time to become better acquainted with the natural hidden gems right in your own backyard.