Outdoor recreation activities over the past few years (since the onset of COVID-19) has boomed with people throughout the U.S. looking for safe spaces with fresh air and good opportunities for socially distanced recreation. Here in New York, there are parts of the Catskills that were inundated with so many people, trails were closed in order to protect them from foot traffic. This surge in interest in outdoor activities has also spurred increased visitation at National Parks throughout the country. Those numbers continued to increase in 2021 – with close to 300 million visits and record high numbers in forty-four parks.
If you are planning on traveling to some of our country’s beautiful outdoor recreation spots this year, please be sure to plan ahead for safety. Some basic practical tips can help to make your trip a great one!
When traveling out of town for vacation, remember to practice safe online and communications protocols. If you use social media, don’t post that you are going away, or the dates you will be gone – instead, save your pictures and trip posts for after you return. Also, make sure to stop at your post office and have them hold your incoming mail until you return. Mail piling up at your home is a good indication that no one is home, and can be enticing for break-ins and theft. You can also have a neighbor or friend stop in each day you are away to bring in your mail and do a general house check.
Bring or buy a paper map for the area where you are traveling. While our phone maps and GPS systems typically work very well, they are not failsafe and you should always have a backup in the event you are lost. Keep emergency supplies with you in your car with blankets, extra water, dry goods, etc. in case you get stuck somewhere and have to wait for help to arrive. A portable first aid kit is also a welcome addition to any backpack if you end up needing to travel on foot for a distance in the elements. Remember that a locked car can get very hot very quickly, so if you bring your pets along with you, be sure to take them out at rest stops – use picnic areas or pet friendly outdoor dining areas for meals so they can stay with you.
Be aware of local wildlife and research safety protocols. When camping, make sure to tie up your food and hang it out of reach to prevent bears and other wildlife from being attracted to your site. Take your trash with you and don’t harass the local wildlife. Leave animals be and give them a wide berth, and typically they will ignore you. Know what to do in an emergency situation. If you are visiting the coasts, learn the warning signs for sharks, and stay within approved swim zones with lifeguards and lookouts.
Learn about ticks and other hazards in the area you will be visiting. What poisonous plants, reptiles, insects are in the area – learn how to identify them and how to prevent and/or treat any rashes or bites. If you are hiking, be sure to wear and bring appropriate hiking gear, shoes, rain gear, etc. and if you plan on biking, make sure to use a helmet.
Our country has some amazing places to explore – locally, throughout the state and all across the US. Travel, explore, enjoy – and be safe!
Our team at Bieritz wishes everyone an amazing summer season with special times with families and friends. Make amazing memories and contact us at 607-547-2951 for all your insurance needs. We are happy to help you!