Day trips. Hiking with bandanas. What you should keep in mind as outdoors spaces reopen

After weeks of getting creative to stave off cabin fever — backyard grass skiing, living room campouts, retaining wall rappels, neighborhood trip reports — outdoor adventurers finally have some good news. In the next week, some state parks and public lands will reopen for day use in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and a few other states.

But as hikers lace up their boots and mountain bikers pump up their tires, this early experiment with resuming everyday activities in the midst of a pandemic will look and feel different.

How should hikers, bikers and equestrians behave on the public lands that will soon open? Largely the way we were asked to behave in March, when public health measures like physical distancing were brand new. Stick with day trips with household members and not to meet up with hiking buddies.

“Be prepared” has never been more important: Pack extra hand soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Don’t expect bathroom facilities to be open. Skip the après-hike brewery stop and bring your own food and drink to avoid visiting businesses far from home. That recommendation is a bitter pill for local economies, but another public health necessity to minimize the risk of viral transmission between communities. The face mask — or at least a bandana that can be pulled over your face — may become the 11th essential on the trail.

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