Self-Care & Being Considerate of Others While Social Distancing
The Leave No Trace principle “Be Considerate of Others” is always an important skill to practice, but perhaps even now more than ever. The great outdoors offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine, exercise and divert from the daily challenges and stress that we are all encountering. Therefore, it makes sense that there are many folks in the community enjoying our parks!
Let us aim for maximizing the enjoyment and health benefits for ourselves and for others when visiting local green spaces and trails! Below are some key outdoor guidelines to consider and put into practice:
Leave space between yourself and others
- We’ve heard that we must leave at least 6 feet of distance between ourselves and others. True, it can be a tough one for all of us to get used to doing, but it is essential for keeping ourselves, our friends, family and community healthy right now. As you know, this is a global issue. The good news is that we have the ability – and responsibility – to put precautions into place to help encourage healthier and happier days in the future.
- Not sure what 6 feet looks like? One way to think about it would be keeping a distance of two to three arm’s length between people. Not sure what your arm span is? Try measuring it! Bonus trick: Try measuring 6 feet in your home for a visual reference.
- Feel a sneeze or cough coming on? Cover your mouth with your arm or a bandanna to avoid sharing and use hand sanitizer!
Be considerate when passing others on the trail
- It may be tough leaving 6 feet of space between people on a narrow trail. If you are going to pass anyone from behind, offer a friendly comment that you will be passing on the left. Then leave a distance of two to three arm’s lengths while passing. If someone is passing you, kindly stay to the right of the trail to allow ample distance.
- If you are passing another person going opposite directions, politely stay to your side of the trail (again, allowing a distance of two to three arm’s length).
- Strive to maintain a buffer between hikers. Consider taking a rest to let hikers gain some distance ahead of you, or temporarily pick up the pace to trek farther up the trail.
- Did you know that there is trail etiquette for uphill and downhill hikers? If one hiker needs to move to the side of the trail to let the other pass, the person traveling uphill has the right-of-way. Why? They are working harder, and keeping up a consistent rhythm helps! If the uphill hiker does choose to step aside and rest, politely pass them and continue along your downhill journey.
- There is also trail etiquette for those enjoying a bicycle ride on a multi-purpose trail. Bicyclists, it is your obligation to yield to walkers and hikers. Safety first!
- Remember, a smile goes a long way!
Keep your pets maintained, happy & healthy
- Keep your pets under control and on a leash at all times. This helps keep your pooch safe! It also displays proper respect to other guests (and their pets), as well as helping to protect local wildlife.
- If you are on a trail and your dog tends to get distracted easily (or isn’t a fan of walking straight along the trail), it may be necessary to pull to the right side of the trail to gain control of your furry friend. Plus, it’ll give you an excuse to give your pooch a little extra attention and love!
- Of course this is a big one: pick up your pet’s poop! A pile of poop can turn a happy moment into a not-so-happy moment quite quickly. Even if a shoe doesn’t accidentally meet the pile, just the sight and smell can be a turn-off to fellow park guests. Pet waste also carries waste, germs and potential disease that can impact the environment and waterways negatively. Be a responsible pet owner. Come prepared with poop bags and dispose of pet waste properly. (Don’t forget to use that hand sanitizer afterward!)
- When it is time to give your pup a well-deserved drink of water, make sure you are out of the way of foot traffic.
- Be sure the fun you are having doesn’t impede anyone else’s visit. Keep in mind voices and music travel, especially near a lake. There’s no need to remain silent, but avoid making loud noises and yelling. Be aware that people may be outside to soak up some sounds of nature, seek some serenity and observe birds and wildlife that may be spooked by shouting and loud music. Here’s to enjoying our experiences outdoors while respecting others’ experience as well!
- There’s nothing wrong with being outside while enjoying your favorite tunes or podcast. It can be quite motivating when you want to get your exercise on and burn those extra calories! Please use your earbuds so you don’t miss out on your favorite jam, and others can also enjoy their own outdoor experience. Just be sure to stay trail aware to help maintain proper social distancing!
Remember to practice social distancing, stay safe, happy and healthy! Enjoy the great outdoors responsibly and see you on the trail and in your favorite park … from 6 feet or more!
For more information about Leave No Trace, please check out the Leave No Trace Basics Video and learn more about the Leave No Trace 7 Principles.
Adventure Outpost Team