Outdoor ethics programme Leave No Trace Ireland has published a set of simple guidelines for getting outdoors responsibly and safely amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“Now, more than ever, it is vitally important that collectively, we use the outdoors responsibly, taking care of each other and taking care of our local environs, our magnificent wildlife, our lands and waters,” the programme said.
“As seen in the media, overcrowding at popular outdoor beauty spots, lack of social distancing, increased disturbance of wildlife and vegetation, rubbish left behind, are all indicators that outdoor use is up but we are not caring for our outdoor spaces as we should be.
“Following Leave No Trace Guidelines ensures we are being collectively responsible in our use of outdoor spaces, protecting ourselves, our families, our fellow citizens and our incredible island.”
Leave No Trace Ireland’s guidelines are:
- Plan Ahead: Check weather, bring proper clothing and footwear, water and food. Park and walk responsibly.
- Expect Closures: Before leaving home, consider lack of usual facilities such as toilets, shops, cafes, restaurants.
- Stay Home or Local: Unwell? Don't go! Feeling well? Look for local trails, hidden gems, explore closer to home.
- Be Considerate: Maintain social distancing throughout the day. Keep group sizes small. There is plenty of space in the outdoors for everyone!
- Time and Place: Find those hidden gems, avoid peak times, avoid difficult routes. Adhere to HSE guidelines.
- Leave No Trace: Don't rely on or add to already overburdened services. Bring your own rubbish home.
- Be Dog-Responsible: Keep dogs under control. Mind out for young wildlife. Pick up and bring home dog waste.
Leave No Trace Ireland also reminds of its seven principles: prepare for spring weather conditions, stick to trails, dispose of waste properly, minimise fire impacts, leave what you find, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and be considerate of others.
If you are well, remain active through outdoor pursuits, but do your part and comply with the latest Government guidelines issued by the HSE in the Republic of Ireland and the HSC Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. For more up to date information and advice about coronavirus (Covd-19), visit www2.hse.ie/coronavirus
For ideas on where to find inspiration for safe and responsible outdoor activities, see LeaveNoTraceIreland.org and share these ideas with friends and family on social media #LeaveNoTrace #WeLoveNature