By Robert Burgess
Tower Hill Staff

While Gov. Charlie Baker has issued a stay-at-home advisory, he pointed out that citizens can still go outside. In fact, connecting with plants and nature is important for our mental and physical health. Taking a walk each day can help stem off cabin fever. Here are 5 Tips for Socially Responsible Hiking During the Coronavirus:

1 Pick a place to walk where there aren’t too many other people. If you arrive at the parking lot of a hiking area that is packed with parked cars, you might want to try a different spot out instead. If you do an online search for a particular community’s municipal website, most have a link listing places to hike in that town. It’s a good time to try a new place you’ve never explored before. Also, this website, AllTrails.com, offers ideas on places to hike.

2 Make a plan for your bathroom needs ahead of time. You don’t want to use portable bathrooms that might be available at parks or hiking areas. And you don’t want to use a public restroom at a business on the way to or from your hiking destination.

3 Steer clear of things you encounter on your walk that you can touch, like fences, railings, sign posts, and gates. If you’re in a park, skip the playground equipment. You only want to touch things you bring into the hiking area, like your backpack with the Six Essentials or your walking stick.

4 Maintain the six foot spacing between you and other walkers you encounter, which the CDC has recommended in their guidelines. That means no high fives or handshakes, but a friendly hello to strangers is welcome during these isolating times.

5 Keep your dog on a leash near other people. The science is still unclear as to whether pets can transmit coronavirus to other animals or people. So it’s good to err on the side of caution.

For more tips on having successful wood walks (like checking for ticks), please see our related post.