#RecreateResponsibly and Try Something New Outside with a Recreation Tour Guide or Outfitter!
Our Washington Outdoor Business Alliance encourages you to look to the professionals that operate local outdoor recreation guided tours, outfitters and instruction businesses for safe experiences outside. As we evolve through the reopening phases of our businesses and communities, we are collectively excited to get back to work and to play outside and in nature. Consider a STAYCATION here in Washington State. Summer isn’t canceled: Embrace the staycation as coronavirus travel restrictions ease in Washington (Seattle Times)
The governor has given the green light to outdoor recreation tours and guide operations to open in segments! On May 14th, Governor Inslee issued guidelines to allow staffed outdoor tennis facilities public and private, Guided ATV, paddle sports, and horseback riding, Guided fishing, Go-kart tracks, ORV/motocross facilities, and participant-only motorsports. All other activities substantially similar in operation and equally able to meet the requirements mandated by this memorandum are also included.
The governor has urged people living elsewhere not to flock to smaller counties as they begin early reopening. “It really is important for people not to overload those smaller communities in their restaurants or otherwise,” Inslee said. “It’s really a time to remain close to home. And we know some of these smaller communities have tried to reiterate that with us so that they are not overwhelmed,” Governor Inslee reminds us.
Hire a guide, take a tour and get to know your own area, while we are advised to Stay Close to Home as we Recreate Responsibly. This time is a great opportunity for you and your family to get outside and have some good clean family fun and get to know your local landscape or waterways. Be a tourist in your own area! Plan a STAYCATION.
For those in or adjacent to Skagit County, one local sea kayak guide/outfitter is open for business. “Anacortes Kayak Tours specializes in small group excursions. Participants can expect plenty of personal space. Being in a kayak naturally provides more than double the recommended social distancing space recommended by experts. Explore the San Juan Islands at a relaxed pace as we search for wildlife and amazing views.” reassures Erik Schorr, Anacortes Kayak Tours. ” There is no need to take a plane, a bus, a boat, or a ferry. You can drive directly to Anacortes on lovely Fidalgo Island, the homeport of the San Juan Islands. Experience the fresh, healthy air of the San Juan Islands from the comfort of a stable sea kayak.”
Look for local guides and outfitters near you! Outdoor recreation guides and tour operators have a tradition of offering guided trips for the public with the highest level of safety. The specialty segment of the outdoor recreation business sector are trained risk management professionals that will implement physical distancing and hygiene practices. As professional outfitters & guides, these businesses already have qualified operational protocols in place for their staff and clients to follow.
The guides and tour operators provide their clientele with training in appropriate outdoor ethics, while also modeling those ethics to the unguided public. Public lands always benefit from the existence of outfitters and guides, operating properly and ethically, observed by others who wish to emulate the way that professionals operate.
As Washington State moves forward with the response to the ongoing pandemic and its economic reverberations, we ask that when you are planning your next adventure or excursion, that you also take into consideration the important role that outdoor recreation businesses are playing and will continue to play in our state’s economic recovery. Supporting local outdoor recreation guides, tour operators, outfitters and specialty retail will make a meaningful contribution to pandemic recovery efforts in your community.
As we move through the next series of phases, we’ll see more and more guided opportunities opening for the public to consider, like hiking, horse packing, trail riding, road biking, mountain biking, white water rafting, outdoor education, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, alpine climbing and mountaineering.
We know you are anxious to get outside this weekend and we hope you #RecreateResponsibly in your local community. Whether choose to hire a guide or not, we also share the messaging of the Recreate Responsibly Coalition, here are six tips to help you #RecreateResponsibly:
- Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a plan B.
- Plan Ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
- Stay Close to Home: This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. Most places are only open for day use.
- Practice Physical Distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
- Play It Safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
- Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities and take all your garbage with you.
#RecreateResponsibly was brought together under the leadership of Washington Trails Association, outdoor retailer REI and state land managers, the Recreate Responsibly Coalition includes government agencies, nonprofits and outdoor businesses inspired by a love of the outdoors and a desire to help people safely experience the benefits of nature while ensuring that our public lands stay open. https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/
Recreation Northwest & The Washington Outdoor Business Alliance
Recreation Northwest, a non-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization, based in Bellingham, WA, has evolved its program work in recreation economy advocacy to launch a statewide association. In 2019, the Washington Outdoor Business Alliance formed to bring cohesion and representation to the growing sector of outdoor recreation in Washington State on our local, state and national economies. https://www.recreationnorthwest.org/
Washington Outdoor Business Alliance is an association of individuals, businesses, organizations and land managers that work from the shared values and varied interests of advancing the position of our recreation economy, increasing outdoor participation and protecting our public lands. https://www.recreationnorthwest.org/the-alliance/
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.