By: 
Monika Rued
 Updated: 
This shows how far apart 6 feet is
This shows how far apart 6 feet is

It's important during this COVID-19 health emergency, that we all practice social "physical" distancing and follow CDC guidelines. Park Interpreter Matthew shows us some best practices while visiting state parks and other natural areas. 

Transcript:

Hello, my name is Matthew, I'm a park interpreter here at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm here to talk to you guys today about COVID-19. We understand this stressful time is hard on us all, and it's very important for us to get out of the house and come out to our parks, our natural areas, really just anywhere outside.

We understand that's important not only for our physical wellbeing but also for our mental and spiritual health as well.

Coming out to your local state park, we have miles and miles of trails and open spaces here in Arkansas to enjoy, but we need to remember to do so responsibly. We need to be practicing social distancing and that may be a little bit further than you realize. By the CDC recommendations, it's six feet from person to person. I have here six feet. You and I need to be standing at least this far away to be a safe distance. And so when you come out to a park and you see that the trailhead or the parking lot is full, it might be a good indication or sign that it may not be the right time to hike that trail for that day. So maybe look into finding another trail or another spot to explore.

You're going out with your pet, say your dog, the rule applies for your pet as well. You have to maintain six feet from other hikers and other dogs because coming into contact with other hikers and other pets, they can pass along these germs as well, just like any other touchable surface.

I understand this personally. It's hard not to pet another dog or any dog that comes up to us. As a fellow animal lover, it's my natural instinct to go out and greet every dog that comes up to me at the park, but we must all refrain from these practices.

One way to enjoy the outdoors is to go on a solo hike. So in doing this, before you leave, make sure you have someone back home, family or friend, aware of where you're going, how long you're going to be gone, and approximately the time you should be returning. And if those plans change at any time, make sure you tell them those revised plans. Option two, if you're going out in a family group, if everyone's within the same household, then it's just fine to be fairly close together. We don't have to have every single person outside of the six-foot radius of yourself, but if you're going hiking with anyone outside of your household, it's very important, it's imperative, to make sure you're practicing social distancing, a physical distance of six feet.

Ok, like I said before, we get it, COVID-19 is a very serious deal and we all need to be taking this very seriously. It's important for us to all come out to the great outdoors to recreate, to unwind and breathe fresh air, but we need to do so responsibly. Whether you're coming out here for physical fitness, or just your own mental and spiritual health, do so responsibly.

Please, I beg of you, please follow the CDC guidelines and maintain that physical distance. Don't just say, "Oh, I'm social distancing." No. Maintain and be spatially aware that you're following a six-foot distance from everybody, that you're protecting not only each other, or others out in the park recreating, but that of park staff such as myself. And so, I understand, and I'm here with you. We're all in this together. Please help us flatten the curve and help slow down the spread to prevent any further COVID-19. Thank you.

Arkansas State Parks
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