Coalition calls on everyone to get outside safely this winter

I’ve reposted this exactly as it arrived in my in-box. – LSnyder

November 20, 2020
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Media Contacts

Warren Whitney, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, wwhitney@mcht.org
Jeremy Cluchey, The Nature Conservancy in Maine, jeremy.cluchey@tnc.org
Mark Latti, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, mark.latti@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, Maine – Today, a broad coalition of Maine conservation groups, state agencies, and outdoor brand businesses launched a series of recommendations to help people safely enjoy fresh air this winter. While outdoor activities are great ways to stay healthy during Maine’s winter, it is important for everyone venturing to Maines public parks and land trust preserves to continue following COVID-19 health guidance. In addition, all should be prepared for short days, cold temperatures, snow and ice, and ever-changing, unpredictable conditions.

“Our goal is to help create safe experiences for everyone,” explained Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal. This partnerships goal is to inform and remind residents and visitors that we can and should enjoy the tranquility and peace of our outdoors this winter while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Maines conservation and recreation communities, natural resource agencies, and outdoor brand leaders developed checklists to help us all enjoy Maines outdoors in ways that are safe and responsible this winter, added Doreen MacGillis, Chair of the Maine Land Trust Network.

Before you head outside:

Be Prepared

  • Dress for success: Be aware of current conditions and bring appropriate gear to match those conditions, including, snowshoes, ice grips, and plenty of layers to stay warm. Local outdoor stores are available to give advice on appropriate clothing and equipment. Consider buying a Maine-made brand!
  • Check before you go: While many conservation lands remain open during the winter, access roads and parking areas may not be accessible. At the same time, conditions may not be safe or appropriate for desired activities such as ice fishing. Visit websites to see the latest information on closures and to learn about current conditions.
  • Know whats available: Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or a less-trafficked state parkpublic land, or land trust preserve. (Maine Trail Finder is a great resource.)
  • Dont take risks: Stick to familiar terrain to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources. If youre headed out alone, let someone know where youre going and be especially careful.

Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings

  • Practice physical distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. Step aside when passing other people on the trail and be considerate its different than how youve experienced the outdoors in the past, but necessary as we try to stay safe.
  • Wear a mask: When youre in the vicinity of others, even with six feet of separation, a mask will help keep everyone safer.
  • 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. Do not park on public or private roads where snowbanks prohibit parking completely off of the road.
  • If youre 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 you or friends or family are traveling from out of state, please adhere to Maines travel and quarantine guidelines.

Getting outdoors is extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health, concluded Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso. Enjoy Maines natural resources this winter in safe and responsible ways and we can work through this unique time together.

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Categories: MaineCare & Maine DHHS, Medical Concerns, Safety in the Home

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