The Leave No Trace Recommendations for Getting Outside During Covid-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has altered all of our lives. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics aligns with the CDC recommendations to help slow the spread of the virus. Let’s keep ourselves, our communities and our natural world healthy.

© 2020 Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics:

Enjoy Your World. Leave No Trace.


You and Your Outdoor World

Many trails, parks and beaches are open. Pay close attention to guidance in your community or communities you intend to visit before heading out, remain at least 6-feet from other visitors and bring a mask to to protect others and yourself.


Pack Out Your Trash

With limited staff and services, trash and recycling receptacles may not be emptied as oen or at all. Overflowing receptacles become litter and can be a hazard to wildlife. Be prepared to pack your trash and recyclables out with you all the way home.


Expect Closures

Limited services and closed facilities may be common resulting in a lack of water, restrooms, open campgrounds and other facilities. Take necessary steps like bringing food, water, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and trash bags, and learn how to go to the bathroom outdoors if there are no available facilities and the area permits it. Check area websites before visiting for their Covid-19-related specifics.


Avoid Times and Places of High Use

Avoid crowded parks, trails and beaches or ensure that you can practice physical distancing while visiting a busy area. Many locations are now providing real-time information on visitor volume, so check websites when planning a visit. Try to have a Plan B for getting outside if you arrive to find your outdoor destination particularly busy. Remember these tips for Handling Crowds In Outdoor Spaces and follow guidelines at about group size restrictions.


Practice Leave No Trace

Just because times are tough and outdoor resources may be limited, doesn’t mean that the Leave No Trace Seven Principles should fly out the window. Pick up dog waste and never leave poop bags on the trail even if there aren’t trash cans handy. When stepping off a trail to physically distance try to find a rock or other durable surface to stand on instead of walking far off the trail to pass and potentially creating new trails. Do your best to eliminate impacts.


Be Considerate and Kind to Other Visitors

Face coverings, physical distancing, managing your dog and a friendly wave when passing go a long way right now. Help park staff do their jobs by doing your part to take care of each other and our beloved outdoors. And remember the outdoors belongs to all of us. Be kind.

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