COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.

How to Hike Responsibly in the Age of COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Be safe. Be well. Be local.

Harris Center trails and grounds remain open, but extra precautions are required in order to keep them that way. Here’s how to keep yourself, and others, safe on the trail while the need for social distancing remains:

Stay home if you’re sick.

If you or anyone in your household is experiencing flu-like symptoms, do not go to public places, even trails and conservation lands. If you must stay home, take heart: there is still plenty of nature to be enjoyed in your own yard or from your front stoop.

Stay local.

Keep close to home, and choose quieter spots or quieter times of day for your outings.

Keep your distance.

Only hike with members of your own household and stay at least six feet from other hikers at all times, even at trailheads and vistas. If a parking lot is crowded when you arrive, go somewhere else.

Keep your dogs on leash.

We always expect dogs to be leashed while on Harris Center trails, but it’s especially important now, when increased trail activity means a higher probability of encounters with other dogs and other hikers. Knowing how much we all snuggle with – and breathe upon – our furry companions, other trail users may be understandably concerned about coming into contact with your pet, even if you yourself are standing safely six feet away.

Don’t take risks.

Search and rescue efforts put first responders at risk of exposure, and can divert medical attention away from those who need it most. Save your epic backcountry adventures for another day, and use an abundance of caution with regard to weather, terrain, and trip planning. For a list of the “ten essentials” you should bring with you on every outing, as well as other tips for safe hiking, visit NHFG’s Hiking Safety page or