Here are Five questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether it is indeed appropriate and safe for you to go outside to bird/watch, hike or ride.

1. Do I have the potential to come within six feet of people who are not a part of my household?

Is the trail wide enough, or does it offer the opportunity to get me and my equipment at least 6 feet (many experts are now saying 12 feet) away from another person passing on a trail. Single direction (one-way) trails are the best option for allowing limited exposure to other people.

2. Does this activity put me at risk for potential rescue, straining local resources?

Now is not the time to be attempting highly challenging or dangerous activities or highly technical trails that have a higher likelihood of you hurting yourself. Our hospitals have enough to worry about now, without you filling up their waiting rooms with broken arms, twisted ankles, animal or insect bite (s).

3. Am I coming into contact with surfaces that can hold and transfer the virus?

Avoid being out long enough that you would need to use the trailhead facilities (toilets), or need to tie up your horse at a crowded hitching post.

4. Will this put me in closer contact with vulnerable populations, such as those with compromised immune systems, persons over the age of 65, or those who are pregnant?

Your actions do not only affect you, but have a great effect on the people around you. Any time you move during this pandemic, you have the potential of carrying the virus with you as an asymptomatic carrier, or even on your clothing. No matter what, avoid even remote contact with vulnerable populations.

5. Do I need to travel outside of my local community to do this?

If you travel far to get to your trail or outdoor recreation experience, you may need to stop for gas, pick up food at a restaurant. Stay close to home to limit these exposures.

If you can answer YES to ANY of these questions, please alter your plans to keep your community safe by finding another form of recreation, a different location, or staying home. If you must go outside be safe bring your mask with you and use sanitizer even if you have been vaccinated.