Visiting Parks

Should we go to National Parks? CorpsTHAT tells all!

[VIDEO DESC/ TRANSCRIPT: Samantha is sitting on a table. Text: “What about parks and other public lands?” SAM: A lot of people have been asking, “what about national parks, national monuments, wildlife preserves, state parks, or other outdoor spaces, are they open, can we visit?” It really depends on your State’s guidelines.  Text: “Follow your state’s guidelines. Links and resources can be found at”  SAM: So, make sure you are checking to see what is opened.  Text: “& Keep in mind while hiking you stay 6 ft apart from <——-> others meaning on narrow trails you step off trail! Not ideal” EMMA: Also, when we are hiking, keep in mind, most trails are narrow so when we come upon other hikers, we have to step off the trail to pass them safely. Stepping off of trail damages the trail and plants which is not ideal, especially now, because most trail crews are not able to work safely so there are less people and resources for maintaining our trails. It’s important that we are using extra precaution to respect our trails, open spaces while still respecting other people in the outdoors. SAM: A lot of parks have started to close because they are becoming too crowded with more people flocking to parks and driving there parking lots are overcrowding as you can see in these pictures, cars are lining up and parks are closing because of this. [photos of cars lining up and articles appears] Also be mindful that when you are driving to a park you might have to stop and fill up with gas, make a stop to use the bathroom, make a stop to get food, So we recommend that when you are driving to a park you don’t make stops on the way there. Text: “Drive straight there and straight back” SAM: Which means you need to pack everything you might need and make sure you fill up for gas in your neighborhood. So that you can drive straight there and straight home, to reduce the risk spreading or contracting anything. Another reason why many parks or national parks are closing, is because they are typically located in or near small towns or rural areas, and park visitors are coming from cities or urban areas and those visitors may be coming from high risk areas, they may be infected and then they may be spreading or bringing the infection to these more rural areas. So now they are closing these parks to reduce the number of outside visitors to these areas protecting the people who live there and reducing the number of outbreaks. Text: “Don’t travel to rural areas to recreate” SAM: If you live in a rural area and the hiking trails near you are less crowded and there are not that many people visiting that area meaning you’re less likely to come upon others on the trails so it’s easy to maintain the 6 feet guidance then we encourage you to go out but it’s important to be mindful even though many parks are open, you still need to research all the factors before you head out to a national park or any park. Text: “Tips for visiting parks (or public lands): check to see if park is open, only visit areas you live near, visit during less busy times, stay on wide trails to pass safely. Be mindful. Yes, many spaces are open, but do your research before traveling to a national park or any park.”  SAM: Lots of popular parks like Lake Tahoe Basin, Joshua Tree National Park Colorado Rockies and many others have had to close due to a high number of search and rescue (SAR) incidents and injuries, where the people needed rescue. [Shows photos of articles on hiking safely and incidents] It has gotten to the point where the national parks have had to close due to safety reasons. Similar incidents have happened at other parks, even smaller parks and state parks and they have had to close as well because of all the SARs incidents. Video zooms to a photo of a helicopter with text: [Keep our First Responders Safe] then, back to Sam. Text on left: “most responders are unpaid volunteers.” SAM: SAR teams are made up of mostly volunteers who are still working their full time jobs as well So when they are called to a rescue where someone is injured in the backcountry access to appropriate PPE has been limited so they are more at risk to contract COVID-19 and since many COVID-19 cases don’t even show symptoms they could be contracting it unknowingly and then spreading it to their families or other volunteers and then ultimately reducing the number of SAR volunteers available to go out and rescue people. Text: ” Search and rescue risk getting COVID-19″ “Hospital and other medical facilities are already overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients” SAM: Also when injuries happen in the backcountry patients are brought to local hospitals. Hospitals and different medical centers are already at capacity and overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients So that is just another reason we are not encouraging hiking, backpacking and camping during this time. Text: “Just another reason we discourage hiking, camping or backpacking during this time.”