What Coronavirus Means for Outdoor Recreation

Tips, Resources, and Updates on COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in widespread social distancing measures across the United States, but what does that mean for outdoor recreation? We are bringing you the latest news, updates, and announcements on cancellations, closures, alternative recreation experiences, and more.


Updates from Around the Outdoor World

Many upcoming training opportunities and conferences have been canceled or postponed. Accordingly, we are updating our training calendar daily to reflect these changes. The latest updates can always be found here.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued its current iteration of guidance for Regional Foresters for the operation of recreational and food service sites on Forest Service lands. Download the statement.

The National Park Service just made our National Parks free to enter. The latest statement from the National Parks Service on COVID-19 can be found here.

The latest statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on COVID-19 can be found here.

Other statements on COVID-19 can be found at these links —

What Outdoor Recreation Activities are Safe?

According to the latest guidelines social distancing doesn't mean you can't go outside. In fact, continued exercise is good for your immune system. However, before you go out make sure to check your state’s regulations by following the link to your state at the bottom of this article. Some state's have issued shelter in place orders, which could mean you need to stay off the trails. Here is what you need to remember if you are engaging in outdoor activities —

  • If you plan to visit a trail check beforehand to ensure that it is still open to the public.
  • Keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Do not touch public services, such as benches or water fountains, unless necessary.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after outdoor recreation and after touching any public surfaces.
  • If you are sick you should stay home.

You can directly read the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control here.

Read more from American Trails on the respite of trails and outdoor recreation here.

Photo via nrpa.org

Photo via nrpa.org

Alternative and Virtual Outdoor Experiences

Google Arts and Culture has teamed up with the National Park Service to offer virtual tours of five of our National Parks. Additionally you can explore stories, art, and artifacts from many National Parks on their website by clicking here.

The National Park Service offers their own virtual tours of Yellowstone National Park that can be found here.

American Trails offers monthly webinars which are recorded and are available for download, including many that are free. You can browse the webinar catalog here.

Ranger Rick magazine is offering a free digital subscription through June. Find out more here.

Alabama State Parks are offering virtual programming via their Facebook pages. Find out more here.

The National Park Service has a free printable coloring book featuring birds you can see on our nation's trails. Find it here.

State Park Websites to Check for Latest Updates

Many state parks are limiting hours, suspending programs, and closing sites. Before you venture to a state park near you check your state park website for the latest information.

Published March 18, 2020

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