The Washington Recreate Responsibly Coalition announced new guidelines for outdoor recreation Tuesday. A news release from the coalition, which represents 50 outdoor organizations, detailed the new set of best practices.
The new guidelines emphasize preparation, communal responsibility for the stewardship of public lands and accessibility and inclusion, showing that “we all have a role to play in keeping people, places and communities safe as we enjoy the outdoors,” said Kindra Ramos, communications director for the Washington Trails Association.
The #RecreateResponsibly campaign first emerged in May of 2020, in response to shifting public health recommendations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase in outdoor recreation.
While the 2020 guidance was heavily focused on the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, the new guidelines apply to outdoor recreation more broadly:
● Know before you go. Check the status of the place you want to visit for closures, fire restrictions, and weather.
● Plan and prepare. Reservations and permits may be required. Make sure you have the gear you need and a back-up plan.
● Build an inclusive outdoors. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
● Respect others. There is space for everyone outdoors. Be kind to all who use the outdoors and nature differently.
● Leave no trace. Respect the land, water, wildlife, and Native communities. Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.
● Make it better. We all have a responsibility to sustain the places we love. Volunteer, donate, and advocate for the outdoors.
Still, the news release notes that “While there are no longer statewide public health restrictions in Washington that apply to outdoor recreation, rates of infection from the Delta variant of COVID-19 are on the rise” and suggests that the 10 essentials be expanded to include face coverings and hand sanitizer.
“COVID-19 changed the context of outdoor recreation in Washington state. With more people than ever enjoying the state’s natural beauty and public lands, these guidelines offer simple and actionable ways each of us, whether lifelong or first-time adventurers, can do our part for Washington’s outdoors,” said WTA’s Ramos.
The guidelines will be disseminated across the country through the national Recreate Responsibly Coalition, a group of 1,300-plus outdoor recreation businesses, nonprofits, agencies, influencers and media organizations.
More information on the guidelines can be found at recreateresponsibly.org, on Twitter (@RecreateInfo) and Instagram (@recreate.responsibly) and by following the #RecreateResponsibly hashtag across social media platforms.