Getting Outside – Safely – in the Midst of COVID-19

Updated 3/24/2020
How are you holding up? We know: things are uncertain right now. People are suffering from heightened anxiety, loss of work, illness, and so much more.  

As we get through this pandemic together—by physically staying apart—certain things become clear. We are deeply and profoundly connected, each and every one of us. And, we are deeply and profoundly connected to the natural world. 

Health officials recommend that we practice social distancing right now. That means staying six feet away from those with whom we do not share a home. It also means that even while schools, restaurants, and office buildings close their doors, those who are well and able may still venture outside.  

What a relief this has been. 

A preserve visitor finds a moment of respite on the Bold Coast.

If you’re able, get outside 

The peace that nature always offers has become all the more essential in recent days.  

Many have reached out to us lately filled with gratitude for the beautiful places Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Maine’s 80+ other land trusts have protectedFor better and worse, COVID-19 has reminded us what’s important: health, safety, family, and friends top the list. Access to nature and the outdoors; the feel of sunlight on skinthe sound of waves crashing on rocksthe calm cool of a deep forest—these things are also up there. 

Preserves are open – but please take care 

Right now, Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves remain open, and we encourage you to use them if you’re able.  

But these are extraordinary times, and we ask that you take extraordinary measures of safety if and when you do leave the house.  

Guidelines for safely visiting preserves 

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and doing our best to stay on top of CDC and health officials’ recommendations for safely getting outside. For now, here are some important guidelines: 

  • If you feel sick, stay home 
  • Follow the CDC’s guidelines around personal hygiene – including washing your hands, sanitizing appropriate surfaces, etc. 
  • Keep a distance of six feet from other preserve visitors 
  • Attempt to visit a preserve at a time when it’s less likely to be busy 
  • If you find a preserve busy, please leave and return at another time
  • Check out a blog from the National Recreation and Park Association on practicing safe social distancing while enjoying the outdoors 
  • As always, beware of ticks…tick season has begun! 
  • Please remember to follow other preserve guidelines and local ordinances and special orders

Resources for getting outside 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has dozens of preserves up and down the coast free and open to all to visit. We also recommend visiting the Maine Land Trust Network site to locate your local land trust’s website. Maine Trail Finder is another excellent resource. 

A dose of the Maine coast for those who can’t leave the house 

We have collected paintings, poems, videos, essays, photos, and more celebrating the Maine coast, and those unable to leave the house may find some comfort in this assemblage of beauty. Check out Voices from the Coast.

Please, take care. And please, be in touch if you have any questions.  

In the midst of so much uncertainty, MCHT continues to work to protect the Maine coast and your access to this extraordinary place. That’s something you can count on.  

Sarah Faragher, December Sky over Penobscot Bay, from Stockton Springs, Maine, 2018, oil on canvas, 12 x 20 inches. Part of the Voices from the Coast project.

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