The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a positive message for Michigan residents amidst a lot of uncertainty. There has been a steady stream of “closure” information and messaging about self-isolating to slow the spread of COVID-19. While we are in uncharted territory, and such steps are critical in protecting Michigan residents from coronavirus risk. Safeguarding mental health is just as important, and spending time outdoors – whether in your backyard, on your balcony or in big, open spaces – can boost mind, body and spirit.
Although public contact areas (restroom buildings, shooting ranges, visitor centers) at many DNR-managed facilities are temporarily closed, people are still welcome to enjoy the public outdoor areas at state parks and recreation areas, state game and wildlife areas, state forests, state trails and, of course, our lakes, rivers and streams. For the duration of the COVID-19 situation, the DNR waiving the need for the Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations.
You can explore things to do on their website for inspiration; check out the YouTube channel for how-to videos; and get hunting and fishing licenses at the new license system website. Closer to home, you could soak up some sun on the back deck, walk around the block or jog the nearest local trail.
If you choose to enjoy the outdoors, the DNR is urging you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family and your community safe:
- Go out only if you’re feeling healthy.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting, including the outdoors.
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Minimize UV sun exposure by properly applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.
- When driving, keep windows slightly open to provide air flow.