Keep It Local – Paddling in a Pandemic Refined
For many boaters, our lives have been built around an ability to visit rivers as frequently as possible. And if they're not, we're probably dreaming about being able to do so. Unfortunately, paddling responsibly during COVID-19 has made visiting rivers difficult for many of us. Responses to the pandemic vary regionally and in some areas paddling opportunities are beginning to open back up. Most of the places where restrictions are being loosened, local leaders have made clear that this is not a return to normal and that continued access to outdoor recreation is contingent on the ability of the public to follow physical distancing practices and keep it local. We're all in this together and we all want to paddle, so let's work to make our communities response a model of how to recreate in a pandemic. Here's some simple guidelines on if, how, when and where paddling is a good idea right now which should apply broadly.
MAKE THE HEALTH OF OTHERS YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
• The COVID-19 pandemic is serious stuff - conduct yourself in every respect with that in mind.
• Respect travel restrictions, state and local rules, and river closures.
MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCE.
• Stay at least 6 feet apart.
• Have a plan for a human-powered shuttle or another option that allows you to maintain physical distancing. Get creative.
• Get on the river with family members, roommates, or maintain physical distance from one or two partners.
• Avoid busy areas and times of day.
STAY CLOSE TO HOME.
• Consider impacts to vulnerable gateway communities with limited health care facilities.
KEEP IT CHILL.
• Paddle well within your ability.
BE A GOOD RIVER STEWARD.
• Pack it in. Pack it out.
• Plan ahead
• Avoid congregating at put-ins and take-outs that are often highly visible to the community.
SURF THE COUCH.
• Don't go out if you're sick or have been in contact with those who are. Pop in an LVM instead.
Be a part of the solution! Help us keep the delicate balance that ensures river access and enough water to boat from shifting in the wrong direction. Maintaining constructive relationships with communities where we recreate is in our long-term interest as we work with them to improve the health of rivers and our opportunities to enjoy them. Keep your phone clean. And always, always wash your hands.
To help spread the word and share these guidelines with your friends and community feel free to use this graphic. Thank you!