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Camping safety amid COVID-19

Brandon Weathers
Updated: June 05, 2020 06:17 PM

Among the social, emotional, and physical stress caused by COVID-19, many have been turning to the outdoors.

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UMD Environmental and Outdoor Education Professor Ken Gilbertson said, "Being in nature is just plain good for us. It's good for our well-being, it's good for anxiety, it builds resilience, it calms us down."

As campgrounds phase into reopening, Gilbertson says the pandemic has more people exploring remote camping options. He said, “People are going out, and a lot of them are.”

When venturing beyond a campsite, he says there are important things to keep in mind, like going with someone who's experienced. Wherever you go, make sure you have a permit if one is required. Dress for the water and always wear a life jacket. Gilbertson said it's important to let someone know where you're going and when you're leaving.

He said, "I used to belong to the rescue squad, and I can't tell you how many searches I've been on because someone didn't tell family members when they'd be out and that causes a whole lot of people to spend a long time searching for someone that they don't need to be searching for, or conversely, it can save someone's life."

We also can't forget that COVID-19 concerns remain. Groups should be small and within one's household, and distance should be kept from others.

"Where you're the most vulnerable is the drive up there," Gilbertson said, "When you stop to get gas or you're gonna stop to get food, so you want to still have those precautions and have a face mask then."

If done safely, Gilbertson believes camping can provide the escape many of us may need. "Now more than ever it's important to be out in nature," Gilbertson said. 

Credits

Brandon Weathers

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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