The Coronavirus pandemic may still be ongoing, but as state stay-at-home orders lift one by one, more and more people are heading outside to enjoy what’s turning into a beautiful May all across the country. Experienced outdoorsmen know that camping, hiking, backpacking and hunting are the original “social distancing” measures; after all, it’s a lot easier to stay 6 feet away from everyone when you have infinite outdoor space to do it! That said, we all know that some of the folks eagerly embracing the fresh air and sunshine they’ve been longing for aren’t exactly old hands…and that’s why we’re happy to see the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) launching the #ResponsibleRecreation pledge, which encourages Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation while adhering to proper COVID-19 safety protocols.
Outdoor television personalities, gear makers, and conservation-minded decision-makers are already embracing the pledge. What’s more, while many of the organizations involved in spearheading the #ResponsibleRecreation pledge have their own interests—namely, hunting, fishing, or shooting sports—the hope is to engage anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly. They’re asking that outdoor enthusiasts share how we are recreating responsibly, challenge our friends to do the same, and use the campaign hashtag across social media.
Conservation leaders at the National Wild Turkey Federation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies all helped design and are promoting this campaign. These groups are encouraging Americans to take advantage of our country’s numerous opportunities to recreate on public lands and waters, while maintaining proper social distancing and adhering to other best practices in line with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Whether participating in hunting, fishing, shooting sports, or numerous other outdoor activities, individuals and families are getting outside as a means of coping with the challenges of this health crisis,” says Whit Fosburgh, TRCP’s president and CEO. “The conservation community recognizes that this is a privilege, one that sportsmen and women take very seriously. Just as we’ve stepped up to fund conservation efforts and recover at-risk species, hunters and anglers have yet another opportunity to lead by example and ensure that outdoor recreation can continue to delight and facilitate healing for anyone who ventures outside.”
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