The Government announced yesterday, 24th March, new measures in relation to going outdoors during COVID-19 pandemic. Due to overcrowding of public parks, beaches, popular walking sites, playgrounds, many of these are now closed or there is an increase presence of Park Rangers and Gardai at these sites. It is still important to get out during self isolation, for both physical and mental health, but we must take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others and maintain the recommended 2 metre distance from others. Leave No Trace have developed a set of guidelines to help people to get out and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining social distance. These include;

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 – at least 2 metres apart. 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.