During this difficult and uncertain time, while we practice physical distancing to protect the public health, we’ve had community members ask: Is it okay to go outside and enjoy nature?
We know that nature helps protect the public health, by providing mental and physical health benefits. It’s one of the reasons we do what we do here at Nature for All!
Right now, public health officials are encouraging exercise outdoors and time in the nature for those who are well, as long as guidelines for physical distancing are maintained. “Biking and running are great as long as not in a group where there is close contact,” said a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. The County of LA’s “Safer at Home” order urges Angelenos to stay at home; they add you can “take a walk, ride your bike, and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community.” Consult the CDC guidelines for visiting parks and recreational locations and find out if parks, beaches and bike paths are open before you venture out. (LA City Parks, Los Angeles County Parks; Forest Service; Angeles National Forest; California State Parks)
If you are fortunate enough to live near an area that is in close proximity to open parks, trees, and green spaces, we hope you can safely enjoy nature while maintaining a safe distance from others and following orders by the county and state. We also know that many of our community members live in park-poor communities and lack access to open green spaces. While our collective focus is on protecting the public health, we remain committed to our work to connect people and public lands through more trails and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
More ways to appreciate nature during this time:
- Explore virtual tours of California State Parks from their PORTS webinar series
- Check the #ParksFromHome videos from LA County Parks
- Take virtual tours of national parks from Google Arts & Culture or from the National Park Service
- Tune in for live wildlife cams from Explore and webcams from the National Park Service
- Organize your photos of past trips in the great outdoors into photo albums or collages
- Watch environmental documentaries and nature-themed movies, including online screenings from the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival
- Listen to the sounds of nature from the National Park Service or meditation apps, such as Insight Timer
- Post nature photos for our #LANatureAtHome challenge
Have kids? Find more ways to enjoy nature at home with children
More on the subject:
“Remember this Feeling” (Modern Hiker)
10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (Children and Nature)
“Is it Safe to Hike, Run and Bike Outside Now?” (Los Angeles Times)
“I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share” (New York Times)