With how much time we’ve all been spending indoors, that fresh air feeling is better than ever. Plus, spending time outside leads to so many physical and mental health benefits. For these reasons and more, visitor use has increased dramatically at some public lands locations. Increased use causes increased, lasting impacts. Now is the time to work together and remain mindful about our impacts and the safety of our communities.
When Nevada moved into Phase 1, state parks and outdoor spaces were directed to open to the public for day use. If you choose to take to the wild, we want you to consider the following ways of recreating responsibly. These are special places that deserve to be cared for and protected, even during these unprecedented times.
- Follow all CDC guidelines to prevent yourself and others from getting sick. Bring your own supplies such as disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.
- Bring a mask. 😷Be prepared to don a mask when at trailheads and when in situations where it might be impossible to pass other users with at least 6 ft. of distance.
- Keep in mind that many parks are partly open or closed right now and please be respectful of those boundaries. Things are changing all the time and you need to check with the local land manager before you go to see if the area is closed. (Find the most up to date information at the links below or on social media.)
- Stay local. 📍 Visiting remote areas can put added pressure on the limited health care services in small communities, as well as the gas stations, grocery stores, and other facilities those communities rely on. Don’t make any stops if you’re driving somewhere, make sure you have enough gas to get there and back.
- Limit group activities to members of your household and avoid congregating. 👨👩👧👦 If that isn’t possible, find another trail or go at another time. If the place you’re thinking of going usually has a full parking lot, then it is not a good place to go. Remember that even if there aren’t many people at the trailhead when you arrive, there may be when you’re leaving.
- Pack out what you pack in. ♻️ Consider what you’ll need as some facilities like visitor centers, bathrooms, and trash services are not open or being serviced. Know-how and be prepared to poop in the wild.
- Stay on existing roads and trails. More people means more impacts that can accrue quickly. Keep in mind the impact of your actions if another 10… or 100 people did the same thing.
- Take less risk. If an accident or injury occurs, there may not be as much of a safety net as usual and you’ll also take away resources from the medical and rescue workers who already have tough jobs to do.
- Consider how you’re going to encounter other visitors. Will you announce yourself if you’re passing them? Will you step off the trail (remember who has the right of way)? You may want to hike along a two-track dirt road instead of a trail so there’s more room for you to safely pass others. Plus, it’s easy to turn around and find your way back.
- Be mindful of wildlife, whose home you’re in. 🐏🐍 Give animals their space. Quick movements and loud noises are stressful for animals and they may be nearby even if you don’t see them.
- Practice Leave No Trace. Take it to the next level by bringing extra trash bags and picking up what others have left behind. Then bring that all back to your household trash can so available facilities aren’t exhausted for others who weren’t as prepared as you.
- Prevent wildfires by following Nevada-wide fire restrictions. 🚫🔥 Check this site for details on fire bans before you venture outdoors.
Check these sites to find out if your outdoor destination is closed, open, or somewhere in between.
- Urban Parks & Trails
US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, including Ash Meadows, Pahranagat, and Moapa National Wildlife Refuges
- Bureau of Land Management
- US Forest Service
- National Park Service
Nevada State Parks
- Valley of Fire
- Spring Mountain Ranch
- Rye Patch
- Cathedral Gorge
Public lands belong to all of us and we all share the responsibility of caring for them. Please stay safe, have fun, and keep it wild!