The situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus is becoming increasingly serious in Canada, with the number of infections growing each day.
While the spread of the virus can be frightening, there are simple, practical steps we can all take. In addition to proper hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing, social distancing is one of the most effective methods of slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Essentially, social distancing means minimizing close contact with other people. Health Canada identifies the following steps to follow:
- avoiding non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- avoiding crowded places such as concerts, arenas, conferences and festivals
- limiting contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others
The thing is, many BRMB users already practice social distancing without even knowing it. As avid outdoors people, we prefer the solitude of a hiking trail or a remote campsite to the hustle and bustle of the city. There are no crowds to avoid when you are deep in the Canadian backcountry. The activities we love already put us in the perfect position to comply with Health Canada’s suggestions. In addition, fresh air and exercise are key to maintaining a healthy set of lungs and reducing your risk of contracting the virus.
In short, there has never been a better time to get away from it all and head to the great outdoors, whether that be for hiking, fishing, camping, off-roading, wildlife viewing or cross-country skiing. While the virus should not be taken lightly, the chance to get out and spend some extra time in our beautiful backcountry is a silver lining. While preparing for your outdoor adventure, here are a few things to consider:
- Avoid group activities - While group hiking is a favourite activity for many, now is the time to keep your adventure party to a small size. If possible, hike with somebody you already share a space with such as a partner or family member.
- Avoided crowded areas - Even amid the outbreak, there are parks and trails that can be very busy. With the help of our Backroad Mapbooks, GPS Maps and Mobile Maps you can find thousands of lesser-known outdoor adventure destinations across the country. The GPS Maps and Mobile Maps, in particular, show a ton of rarely visited areas. Putting in the extra effort to get off the beaten path will not only keep you away from the crowds but will help you discover some hidden backcountry gems as well.
- Be prepared and stay on course - Extra trip planning and carrying a GPS device loaded with our maps will help you stay out of trouble and avoid emergency situations. With the outbreak of the virus, emergency services are already extra busy, and it is more important than ever to avoid unnecessary rescue and medical attention.
- Be aware of the conditions - Winter is not yet over in much of Canada, so if you are not prepared for snow stick to low elevation areas. If you do venture into the mountains, remember that avalanches are always a risk. Proper avalanche training and equipment (beacon, shovel and probe) are essential.
- Avoid the risk of cross-contamination - Choose an outdoor adventure destination that is not too far from home. Long-distance travel can be a major spread of disease, and travel restrictions may be imminent.
- Small, rural communities that are gateways to many outdoor adventure destinations are not as prepared for the spread of the virus as larger centres. Pack all necessary items at home and avoid spending time in these towns.
- Note that all visitor centres in national parks are currently closed to prevent the spread of the virus. For updates on the status of national parks, visit pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/securite-safety/covid-19-info.
From all of us here at BRMB, stay safe and watch out for each other!
For current COVID-19 updates and advisories, visit Health Canada’s Coronavirus disease information page.
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