Outdoor news

The Outdoor Report | Week of March 23

Greetings campers! At 50 Campfires we’re often chatting about the latest headlines in the outdoors because that’s where we spend most of our time. From national park news to new gear to the latest survival story; they’re stories that have always interested us. Moving forward, we’ll be sharing the stories that interested us each week. If you come across a story you’d like us to include, please drop us a line!

Should the Grand Canyon stay open or closed?

With everything closing down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, there appears to be some debate around the Grand Canyon.

Hours after Coconino County officials in Arizona, frustrated that Grand Canyon National Park is still open despite the worsening coronavirus pandemic, urged Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Thursday to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and close the park, the National Park Service announced some operational changes at the park.

However, the South Entrance remained open, entrance fees were not being collected, and visitors were being allowed to enjoy overlooks along the South Rim of the park. Backcountry permits for camping at Bright Angel, Indian Garden, and the Cottonwood campgrounds were suspended, as was access to the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails. Reservations for the Mather Campground also were suspended, as were those for the South Rim Trailer Village.

Read the article at https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/03/update-3-interior-secretary-refuses-let-grand-canyon-national-park-close-face-covid-19

Acadia National Park shuts down for COVID-19

Following the advice of public health officials everywhere, Acadia National park has closed until further notice. We saw the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain and it was spectacular! However, there were also hundreds of people there waiting for the main event. It’s a good idea to shut it down for a while.

“Continuing to keep park facilities open is encouraging visitors from outside local communities; this is placing local residents, health care workers and first responders at risk” said park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “The park and area first responders do not have adequate masks or other protective equipment to assist visitors. The choice you take to enjoy a hike in the park could put someone else needing care related to COVID-19 in danger.”

Read the article at https://www.pressherald.com/2020/03/25/acadia-national-park-shutting-down-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/

Yes it’s ok for you to go hiking this weekend

Shelter-in-place doesn’t mean that you have to sit on your couch all weekend. If you use common sense you can still go for a hike to get some fresh air. CPR News did an excellent job of explaining the new trail etiquette during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Jefferson County Open Space posted new signs at trailheads March 26 encouraging hikers to hike in groups no greater than four. 

When you’re on the trail, don’t rush by someone in an effort to pass. Announce yourself, acknowledge the other person, and allow for plenty of time and six feet of distance to pass. 

Avoid spitting on the ground. Since the coronavirus is carried by droplets, visitors should also avoid the “farmer’s blow.”

Read the full article here: https://www.cpr.org/2020/03/26/hiking-this-weekend-heres-how-to-stay-safe-and-healthy-on-the-trails/

So which National Parks are closed?

Yes, there are still parks and trails you can visit, but many have closed as well. Make sure you get the right information before you head out this weekend. If you decide to stay home and watch River Wild or Never Cry Wolf we fully encourage that as well.

However, following guidance from the CDC and from state and local public health officials, the NPS is modifying operations at many parks — including closing public buildings including visitor centers and toilets — as well as popular trails in some places as it becomes too difficult to practice social distancing.

See the full list of park closures here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a31919987/national-parks-closed-coronavirus/