Trout Unlimited, along with a host of conservation partners, today launched the #ReponsibleRecreation campaign, an effort to encourage anglers and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts to get outside and enjoy America’s great outdoors, but to do so wisely and with great caution as the country continues to endure the COVID-19 pandemic.
TU, of course, is focusing on the all the great fishing Americans are fortunate enough to get to enjoy, and how to stay safe and be considerate of others during this trying time. Using the #ResponsibleRecreation label, we’re encouraging anglers to get out on the water and share their own photographs, videos and blog posts that show them putting responsible recreation into practice. Here’s what we recommend, given what we know about the threats posed by the coronavirus outbreak and the COVID-19 disease:
- Practice good social distancing on the water. The Centers for Disease Control recommends staying six feet apart from others. We’re taking it a step farther — we’re asking anglers to stay a rod’s length apart from their fishing partners whenever possible. The standard fly rod is nine feet long.
- Wear a multi-layered face covering when in the vicinity of other anglers. Even a double-layered cloth mask can help slow the spread of the virus.
- Avoid fishing from a boat with someone you haven’t been in lock-down with. In other words, if they’re not family, don’t fish from a boat with them — it’s just not possible to practice social distancing while in a drift boat.
- Drive to the river separately to get to the angling destination.
- Stay local, if at all possible, to limit exposure to others, and limit others’ exposure to you.
Fishing, when done correctly, can be a great way to get outside safely and enjoy what the outdoors have to offer. But doing so wisely, particularly as many states begin to slowly re-open in the face of the outbreak, is vital for everyone as we begin to confront what might be the “new normal,” at least for the foreseeable future.
Please help us spread the word about staying safe outdoors. Post photos and videos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of you and your family practicing social distancing while fishing. Be sure to label it with #ResponsibleRecreation and tag @troutunlimited, and we’ll enter you into a drawing and choose three winners later in the summer for some great prizes and TU swag — word has it, there’ll be a premium fly rod in the mix. Stay tuned for more details, and in the meantime, please use #ResponsibleRecreation when posting your content.
Finally, remember that we’re all in this together. By being responsible and considerate, we can protect ourselves and those we love. We can help limit the coronavirus outbreak while still enjoying the pastime and the places we cherish.