Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service guidance, indicates that opportunities to continue dispersed recreation may remain during the current reality we are all facing as a result of COVID-19. It is possible to abide by social distancing and other recommended guidelines while getting outdoors and engaging in all sorts of outdoor recreation – including OHV recreation. But, ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide if getting outdoors is the right thing to do.
Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) always believes in safe and responsible recreation – it is the at the core of NOS’s ethics; however, safety is even more important than ever if you choose to ride your off highway vehicle (OHV) in the near future. Many hospitals are at or near capacity. This may not only make it difficult for you to get the care you need should you get injured, you may also turn the attention of hospital staff away from focusing on addressing the needs of other patients.
Please carefully consider the potential implications should you hit the trails. Make decisions that make sense for you and your family and that abide by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and other federal, state, and local agencies and governments.
Some general guidelines, should you choose to engage in OHV recreation during this situation:
· Contact the riding area in advance – they may be closed.
· Visit cdc.gov for information on the latest recommendations and guidelines – follow them!
o Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
o If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
o Avoid close contact, especially with people who are ill.
o Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
· As ALWAYS – wear all appropriate safety gear. For ATVs, ROVs, and dirt bikes this includes: a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
· Ride or drive on trails that do not challenge your skill level – now is not the time for technical obstacles.
· Ride or drive at significantly reduced speeds. Enjoy the scenery. Stop for lunch and take in the fresh air and sounds that come with being outdoors.
· Abide by social distancing recommendations. Ride in pairs or small groups. Keep in mind that others you come across on the trail may stay farther away than normal and may not want to engage in conversation.
· Experience nearby trails. This is not the time to load up the truck and try a riding area that you’ve always wanted to try but is 1,000 miles away. Comply with recommendations to stay near to home.
· If you are at all uncomfortable for any reason about getting out on the trail – DON’T GO!
· If you feel sick – DON’T GO!
Outdoor recreation is an important part of life – studies show it makes us happier and healthier. However, we are experiencing a unique reality right now. NOS encourages you to make good decisions, comply with mandates and guidelines from relevant authorities, and to stay safe.