New Mexicans can still hike, bike, jog or rollerblade outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic but should stay close to home, may not do so in groups and must always practice social distancing, according to outdoor recreation guidelines issued Friday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office and the Outdoor Recreation Division of the Economic Development Department.
“We must practice physical distancing everywhere – even when outdoors,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “You can go outside but you must do it cautiously and there are best practices. Avoid crowded trailheads and parking lots, and don’t carpool with people outside your family unit.”
Those were among recommendations the governor endorsed to help New Mexicans preserve the social distancing needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 while also getting the limited fresh air and exercise people need.
Additional guidelines from the Outdoor Alliance, a national non-profit organization of outdoor advocacy groups:
- Stay very close to home. As close as possible. Think of your backyard as your backcountry for the time being. The farther you travel, the farther you could spread the illness. Try to limit all your outdoor recreation to your neighborhood.
- Keep it chill. Do not participate in any outdoor rec activities that come with a high risk of getting hurt. Health care systems are already overwhelmed and you could put search and rescue teams in danger if they have to come look for you. Toss a frisbee instead of going mountain biking. Go for a walk, not a backcountry ski.
- Respect closures. Check the land management agencies’ websites before venturing out to recreate. Many of these places are closed right now to protect both recreationists and staff. The New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division provides this list of closures.
- Use common sense. Easter weekend is typically a very busy time on our public lands. Try to limit your recreation to off hours or off days; avoid any trailheads that are typically crowded; and stay close to home.