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Outdoor Outreach’s 10 Principles for Getting Outside Responsibly During the COVID-19 Outbreak

During the COVID-19 pandemic we must do everything we can to protect one another, especially those most vulnerable to the virus. Outdoor Outreach encourages our community to get outside responsibly. Bottom line, we must all know and follow the official public health guidelines and do our part to stop the spread. 

OO will strive to stop the virus’ spread and lessen its impact by helping communicate fast-changing public health guidelines to our youth participants, their families and communities. We will do this by promoting a set of outdoor engagement principles that empower our community to act responsibly and adapt to the present situation:  


Outdoor Outreach’s 10 Principles of Getting Outside Responsibly During the COVID-19 Outbreak:


  1. DOUBLE-CHECK YOURSELF. If you have an underlying medical condition that increases your risk to COVID-19 or have any current symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc), don’t go into public spaces unless you have to. While in public spaces protect yourself and others by covering sneezes or coughs and washing/disinfecting your hands. 

  2. KNOW THE RULES. Check local public health guidelines to ensure that the area you are going to is appropriate for the activity you want to do. The trail or beach that was open yesterday might be closed today.

  3. LIMIT YOUR IMPACT. Choose less frequented parks and trails. Do not park in a crowded parking lot or use a crowded trail. Bring everything you need with you and pack out all your trash.

  4. EXPECT CLOSURES. Prepare for restroom closures and a lack of running water.

  5. STAY LOCAL. Don’t travel far from home. This is the time to appreciate nearby nature.

  6. STICK WITH YOUR HOUSEHOLD. If you don’t live together, don’t go outside together.

  7. PRACTICE PHYSICAL DISTANCING. Avoid crowded areas. Stay 6-feet away from anyone that you don’t live with.

  8. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Stick to activities that limit your chances of injury and need for healthcare services.

  9. BE KIND. Help others enjoy the outdoors responsibly. A smile and wave can mean a lot. Share OO’s Principles of Responsible Outdoor Recreation.

  10. ENJOY YOUR ‘HERE AND NOW’ MOMENT. Breathe deeply and connect to the sounds, smells, colors, and movement of nature; breath out any pressure and anxiety you might feel. Check in with your friends and family and encourage others to find their moment.

As you consider getting outside, please review the following important recommendations from Steve Smith, Principal Consultant at Experiential Consulting LLC


“Please be aware that if we’re not intentional around how we recreate outdoors, we can also make societal matters worse, even with the best of intentions. We could bring the novel coronavirus (covid-19) to small communities that don’t already have it, or overwhelm their supplies and healthcare systems in the process. We can create new medical issues (like a climbing accident, or even a car accident) that further burdens the strains on their healthcare resources. Doctors in rural areas are requesting that we be socially responsible while finding ways to recreate outdoors.”


Please remember to follow the CDC’s recommendations on preventing community spread and be sure to update yourself on local authorities’ recommendations on social distancing. Find more information on the CDC Website.

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