Monday, March 16, 2020 – Updated: 5/26/2020
Dear Friends of MCHT,
Our thoughts are with you as you and your loved ones grapple with COVID-19 and this moment of great uncertainty. At Maine Coast Heritage Trust, our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our staff, partners, and community members. Thank you for your understanding and for joining us in this effort.
Preserves remain open
Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves and trails remain open to the public. We hope the resource of open land, fresh air, and sunlight will provide some comfort and relief for those able to visit.
On April 28 Governor Mills issued her plan to gradually open Maine’s economy. Guidelines currently allow people to travel alone or with others in their household to engage in outdoor exercise activities (such as fishing or walking at MCHT preserves) but requires people to follow social distancing guidelines outlined by the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control. Before visiting a preserve, please check in and take guidance from the CDC, the state, and local health authorities.
Maine’s conservation community and state natural resource agencies have provided some helpful guidelines:
Find the Right Time and Place
- Know what’s available: Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or a less-trafficked state park, public land, or local land trust (Maine Trail Finder is a great resource!)
- Check before you go: While some popular conservation lands have closed recently due to overuse and crowding, the vast majority remains open to the public. Visit websites to see the latest information on closures or conditions. Please respect all property closures.
- Have a plan B: If the parking lot is full, the destination is too crowded. If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
- Avoid peak times: Get out earlier or later in the day.
Be Prepared Before Heading Out
- Expect limited services: Facilities like public restrooms could be closed, so plan accordingly.
- Dress for success: Be aware of current conditions and bring appropriate gear to match those conditions. Local outdoor brands are open for online sales and are available to give advice on appropriate gear and equipment.
- Support local businesses: Many local businesses – from restaurants and retailers to guides and lodges – are working hard to provide services in ways that are safe and in keeping with public health rules and guidance. If you’re comfortable, consider finding ways to support them while you’re enjoying the outdoors.
- Don’t take risks: Stick to familiar terrain and avoid unnecessary chances to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources.
- Be aware of the rules: Check before you go to see what activities are allowed. If dogs are permitted remember to bring a leash and to properly dispose of waste.
- Watch out for ticks and biting insects: Wear light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and apply EPA-approved bug repellent.
- Leave home prepared with sanitizer and disinfectant.
Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings
- Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. If necessary, step aside when passing other people on the trail.
- Don’t linger: Shorten your stay when visiting natural stopping points such as waterfalls, summits, and viewpoints so everyone can enjoy them while maintaining a safe distance.
- Bring a mask: When you’re in the vicinity of others, even with six feet of separation, a mask will help keep everyone safer.
- Don’t touch: Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
- If you’re sick, stay home: It puts others at risk when you leave home while exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus.
Events postponed and cancelled
In keeping with health officials’ recommendations, MCHT in-person events have been cancelled through the summer 2020. We will be monitoring the situation and providing updates on the status of fall and winter events in the weeks and months to come.
We thank all who generously continue to support MCHT and ask for your patience as it may take longer than usual to process your gift and send your receipt.
Your partners in conserving the Maine coast,
The Staff, Board, and Council of Maine Coast Heritage Trust