A walk, hike, or bike ride could be just the thing to break the monotony, but it's important to be smart and stay safe.

If there's anything good about the current stay-at-home order, it's that Mainers have an endless supply of distractions to keep the cabin fever from getting out of hand. While the state wants us to limit travel to essential errands, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reminds us that we can go outside and walk, bike, hike, fish, or do any number of activities, to our heart's content. Of course, officials do ask that certain guidelines be followed.

There are some conservation lands that have closed recently, due to overuse and crowding, but most of them are still open to the public. Here are a few things to keep in mind before heading out:

  • Find the Right Time and Place - Know what's close to home, visit websites for any changes in hours, and have a plan B, in case the destination is too crowded. Avoid peak times, when there could be more people, and always consider activities in your own backyard and neighborhood.
  • Be Prepared Before Heading Out - Expect that restrooms will likely be closed, pack snacks and water ahead of time to prevent unnecessary stops, and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Stick to easier terrain to avoid injuries and take precautions against ticks.
  • Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings - Practice social distancing, including stepping aside if someone wants to pass you on a trail. Shorten your stay when visiting popular locations like waterfalls or viewpoints, to give others a chance to enjoy them as well. Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to  minimize the risk of spreading the virus. And if you're sick, stay home.

Have fun, be safe, and stay healthy.