New Outside Recreation Pointers Emphasize the Significance of Preparation, Inclusivity, AND Shared Stewardship

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As part of a national movement, the Washington Recreate Responsably Coalition promotes best practices that make people and places safe and welcoming. Today the Recreate Responsably Coalition released updated guidelines that encourage people to adopt best practices that focus on taking care of themselves, each other, and nature.

As an update to the original guidelines released in May 2020 amid the evolving COVID-19 public health restrictions, the guidelines for 2021 focus on the importance of preparation, inclusiveness and shared responsibility.

“COVID-19 has changed the context of outdoor recreation in Washington state,” said Kindra Ramos, communications director for the Washington Trails Association. “With more people than ever enjoying the state’s natural beauty and public lands, these guidelines provide simple, actionable ways that each of us, whether lifelong or first-time adventurers, can do our part for Washington’s nature.”

Mt. Tenerife Falls. Photo: All Trails website

Responsible recovery means:

  • Know before you go. Check the status of the place you’re about to visit for closings, fire restrictions, and the weather.
  • Plan and prepare. Reservations and permits may be required. Make sure you have the equipment you need and a backup plan.
  • Build an inclusive outdoor space. Make an active contribution to making nature safe and inviting for all identities and abilities.
  • Respect others. There is room for everyone outdoors. Be kind to everyone who uses nature and nature differently.
  • Don’t leave any traces. Respect the land, water, wildlife and local communities. Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.
  • Do it better. We all have a responsibility to preserve the places we love. Help us, donate and stand up for nature.

While Washington no longer has statewide health restrictions that apply to outdoor recreation, infection rates from the Delta variant of COVID-19 are increasing. The Washington Recreate Responsably Coalition encourages people to add face coverings and hand sanitizer to their 10 essentials when enjoying the great outdoors.

“Although Washington state has achieved some of the highest vaccination rates in the country, COVID-19 is still present in our communities,” said Andrea Martin, Recreation Policy Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. “We want people to plan and prepare before they go, because that increases safety for everyone.”

These guidelines are sponsored nationwide by the Recreate Responsably Coalition, an alliance of more than 1,300 nonprofits, public institutions and outdoor recreational companies, media and influencers who work together to help everyone experience the benefits of nature.

Brought together by a shared motivation to help people recover safely in the changing circumstances of the pandemic, the Washington Recreate Responsably Coalition was one of the first in the country. It included more than 100 non-profit organizations, public institutions and local businesses.

By working across sectors and states and the power of a simple vision, the Recreate Responsably Coalition has been very effective in sharing its messages, garnering billions of impressions on social media, offering the original guidelines in nine languages, and building an influential voice for the outside world.

“Building an inclusive nature is good for people and the environment. Everyone should be able to safely enjoy the benefits of nature, and Recreate Responsably’s guidelines encourage you to actively contribute to making the outdoors safe and welcoming to all identities and abilities, ”said David Dunphy, Executive Director of Youth Outdoor -Adventure group, YETI

Looking ahead beyond COVID-19, the Recreate Responsably Coalition hopes these updated guidelines also serve as a community declaration: that together we can #RecreateResponsably to create a safe, sustainable, and inclusive nature for all.

For more information, visit recreateresponsably.org and follow @recreateresponsably on Twitter and Instagram, and #RecreateResponsably on all social media platforms.

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