Nature is Open!

While an array of ordinances are in place closing businesses and asking citizens to stay close to home to prevent the spread of corona virus, it is still widely recognized that getting out into nature is an important way to stay healthy during these difficult times. For example, while San Francisco has ordered residents to stay at home except for “essential needs,” they have made  an exemption for engaging in outdoor activity. Likewise, in Milan, where life in the corona virus “red zone” keeps residents essentially locked in their homes, residents are still free, if not encouraged, to enjoy a walk or jog “for the sake of outdoor physical activity.”

Virtually all of our 23 miles of trails and preserves remain open* to the public and free every day. There are also many other outdoor resources close to home that are still available for healthy, outdoor respite. We hope that fresh air and open space will provide solace during these difficult times.

To the right are resources that will help you find a place to get outside.

Below are tips and guidelines to keep you safe while enjoying all that our local natural spaces have to offer.

(*Please note that our Cathance River Nature Preserve and Tom Settlemire Community Garden are NOT open to the general public at this time.)

CHECK OUT THE RECENT MAINE CALLING EPISODE: How to Enjoy Maine’s Great Outdoors Safely During This Crisis

Safety Guidelines:

  • Do not use preserves, parks, or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people at all times.
  • Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting preserves parks or trails.
  • Maintain distance between other cars in parking areas.
  • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms, (use a toilet before you leave home).
  • Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass.

Tips on Finding a Place to Visit Safely:

  • Go where no one else does.
    Don’t go to the trails that you know are everyone’s favorites. Try something that is a little out of the way, or lesser-known. You remember that little trail you visited once that seemed like no one had been there in ages – that’s likely a good one to try.
  • Stay close to home. Even consider an exploration of the woods behind your own home.
  • Have a plan B (and C). If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
  • Go early or late in the day to avoid busy times, and try to keep your visit reasonably brief to be sure everyone gets a chance to visit with a lower density of visitors.
  • Be sure to check BTLT’s website and social media to be alerted of any changes and potential trail closures.

As ever, Follow These Important Guidelines for Being Outdoors:

  • 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.
  • 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.