What Does it Mean to Reopen?
As our different state stay-at-home orders expire, our volunteers are eager to get back out to work on projects and hikers are eager to hike. Believe me, we are right there with you. But just because a stay-at-home order expires, it does not mean business as usual.
All indications point to Coronavirus continuing to spread and a long time before we can see things return to normal. The new normal will be face masks as fashion accessories, social distancing and cleaning protocols. The months ahead are critical and our actions will determine the safety of our community.
We deal with risk every day on the Trail. Whether it be natural hiking hazards, weather, equipment and chainsaw use, etc. When we do those activities we understand the risk and exercise caution, review the hazards with the group in our trailhead talks, we wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we check in with each other and we have to exercise leadership when we see others aren’t following best practices. Using a chainsaw and preventing an infectious disease are more alike than different.
In the coming weeks, we need to make decisions about group limits on trail projects and whether or not we’re even ready to hold public hikes. Whether or not we’ll require masks and if we’ll require Crew Leaders and Hike Leaders to do symptom screening, what PPE we can provide, what tool cleaning process we expect, and a whole list of other protocols that are needed to help us do our work safely. We’re working quickly in the development of this guidance to get you what you need by the end of the month and we’re engaging a diverse group representative of our community, as well as the medical profession, to guide us.
Until then, we’re asking all NCTA Chapters to continue to hold off on holding events to give us time to get you the guidance and PPE needed. Many of you can’t wait to see each other again so planning to hike as a group is up to you. But we ask for your continued patience with no public trail work events or hikes for the month of May so we can prevent large gatherings until we have clear safety protocol to move forward.
You can continue to reference our FAQ to answer questions, as well as our staff. Just know that we don’t always have the answers, but are committed to figuring them out together.
Thank you for your patience.
North Country Trail Association