AUGUSTA — Biking, boating, hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities are great ways to stay healthy in the age of COVID-19 — provided they are conducted in accordance with all public health restrictions and guidance. As summer weather is fast approaching, Maine’s conservation and recreation communities, natural resource agencies, and outdoor brands developed the following checklists to help us all enjoy Maine’s outdoors in ways that are safe and responsible during this difficult time. Before you hit the trail, cast a line, or launch a canoe, please be sure to:

Find the Right Time and Place

• Know What’s Available: Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or a less-trafficked state park, public land, or local land trust (Maine Trail Finder is a great resource!)
• Check before you go: While some popular conservation lands have closed recently due to overuse and crowding, the vast majority remains open to the public. Visit websites to see the latest information on closures or conditions. Please respect all property closures.
• Have a plan B: If the parking lot is full, the destination is too crowded. If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
• Avoid peak times: Get out earlier or later in the day.
• Be Prepared Before Heading Out

Expect limited services: Facilities like public restrooms could be closed, so plan accordingly.

Dress for success: Be aware of current conditions and bring appropriate gear to match those conditions. Local outdoor brands are open for online sales and are available to give advice on appropriate gear and equipment.
Support local businesses: Many local businesses – from restaurants and retailers to guides and lodges – are working hard to provide services in ways that are safe and in keeping with public health rules and guidance. If you’re comfortable, consider finding ways to support them while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Don’t take risks: Stick to familiar terrain and avoid unnecessary chances to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources.

Be aware of the rules: Check before you go to see what activities are allowed. If dogs are permitted remember to bring a leash and to properly dispose of waste.

Watch out for ticks and biting insects: Wear light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and apply EPA-approved bug repellent.

Leave home prepared with sanitizer and disinfectant.

Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings

Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. If necessary, step aside when passing other people on the trail.

Don’t linger: Shorten your stay when visiting natural stopping points such as waterfalls, summits, and viewpoints so everyone can enjoy them while maintaining a safe distance.

Bring a mask: When you’re in the vicinity of others, even with six feet of separation, a mask will help keep everyone safer.

Don’t touch: Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

If you’re sick, stay home: It puts others at risk when you leave home while exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus.

If we all follow these guidelines and put public health first, we can enjoy Maine’s natural resources in safe and responsible ways as we work through this difficult time together.

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