Franklin Countys First News

How to safely spend time outside

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry know that during these stressful times, everyone wants to get outside and recharge. One challenge we all face right now is how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly during this civil state of emergency.

Here are a few reminders on how you can get some fresh air while being smart, staying safe, and sticking close to home.

Go where they aren’t

  • Visit a lesser-known spot and explore places close to home. Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or less trafficked state park, public land or local land trust.
  • Have a plan B (and C). If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list! Maine Trail Finder is a great resource.
  • Get outside earlier or later in the day to avoid peak times, and please keep your visits brief.
  • Recharge in your backyard and neighborhood! Backyard adventures in the time of coronavirus are an excellent idea. Remind friends and neighbors to stay safe by tagging Instagram pics with #backyardpark.

Know before you go

  • If you are exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home.
  • Stay at least six feet away from other people.
  • If you do decide to go for hike, remember trails are likely to be slippery from ice and mud, which can increase the difficulty level. Stick to easy trails to avoid injuries and further stress on health care resources.
  • Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms (use the bathroom before you leave home).
  • Always leave no trace, including cleaning up after your pet, so be sure to bring a disposable bag to carry out any waste.
  • And remember to help stop ticks by wearing light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and applying EPA-approved bug repellent.

Piping plovers are migrating north to find safe shores to raise families, feed, and rest. By following some specific steps, we can enjoy the beach and share it with piping plovers and their chicks.

If your outdoor trip involves a visit to the beach, please remember that shorebirds need the beach, too!

  • Please walk close to the water on the lower beach, so travel-weary birds can rest on the upper beach. Usually signs or people will alert you to these areas, but due to the COVID-19 response, many of our normal posting and fencing efforts are delayed.
  • Birdwatching can be a great way to pass the time and maintain wellness. Keep your distance so the birds feel safe.
  • If pets are permitted on beaches, keep them leashed and away from birds.
  • Remove trash and food scraps, which attract animals that might eat piping plovers and their eggs.
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2 Responses »

  1. Folks, It would be a better idea to take a walk in your neighborhood since your NOT suppose to be traveling anyway. All your doing here is promoting Crowd gatherings. The State should have closed all Parks and Beaches weeks ago, but of course they didn't and are still charging a fee. Stay away from public areas, use some common sense.

  2. Parks should be closed for the exact same reasons businesses are closed.
    Keeping them open poses an unnecessary risk to everyone, staff included.

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