Let’s Get Outside Safely!

Let’s Get Outside Safely!

May 6, 2020

What a beautiful time to get outside! We’ve been so thankful to have wonderful green spaces open to explore around the Yakima Valley. Thank you to the folks who have kept our Cowiche Canyon Conservancy lands, the Yakima Greenway and the Yakima Area Arboretum open for much-needed breaths of fresh air! Now, with state-managed lands open once again for recreation, we have even more reasons to explore outdoors. So, what’s open and how do we safely enjoy them?

What’s Open?

Visit the WA State Parks website for detailed information about what types of lands will be open, details about what will be available for your use and what restrictions you’ll find in place. In addition to state-managed public lands, including state parks, wildlife areas and Department of Natural Resources recreational lands, state-managed boat launches will also be open. Remember that these lands are open for day use only and that developed National forest lands remain closed. Limited portions of Ahtanum State Forest are open for non-motorized use only. Check the DNR website for updates and details. The Bureau of Land Management is also working to reopen Yakima River Canyon recreation this week, including fishing and access to Umtanun, Lmuma Creek, Big Pines and Roza. Red’s Fly Shop will be open this weekend for curbside pickup to get you on the river.

How to Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

Several resources have put together guides to help keep yourself and others safe, to protect the lands and to make sure they stay open for our use. Find updates for safe trail use on Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s Facebook page. Washington Trails Association has published a guide to hiking etiquette during COVID-19 and REI has released a guide to responsible recreating during these times.

As you plan your next adventure, keep a few things in mind.

  • While many DNR and state lands are rep-opening, not all will open immediately, it’s best to check the status of your destination before you go. Have an alternate destination in mind in case you find that your first choice is too crowded.
  • Consider less popular, less trafficked destinations. For now, choose trails closer to home and try to not make stops along the way. Eventually we can all venture further. Go only with members of your immediate family.
  • On-site facilities such as restrooms. Come prepared with food, water, sanitizer and your own toilet paper.
  • Be a good stewards of the lands and leave no trace! Lands are operating with limited staff. To keep them safe and leave the lands in good condition, pack out what to take in.
  • Bring a face covering and use it when you encounter others.
  • Maintain physical distancing on the trail as you would anywhere else in public. If you encounter others on the trail, give each other plenty of space. Usually, hikers traveling uphill have right of way. If you must step off the trail, please tread lightly in the delicate natural landscapes.

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