May 5 2020

Leave No Trace Helps Keep Your MetroParks Open

Leave No Trace Logo

Spring is here and this April you can celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day by learning more about Leave No Trace. A group of seven principles to follow that help minimize your impact on nature while outdoors, Leave No Trace is something MetroParks asks its visitors to exercise year-round and has never been more important for the health and safety of parkgoers and staff.

MetroParks has closed restrooms, water fountains, playgrounds, nature play areas and more, and has removed trash cans in the parks. Consider these closures before planning your trip. Planning ahead by following (and building on) the Leave No Trace principals helps keep your MetroParks open:

  • Plan and prepare: Before heading outside, make sure you feel well. If you feel under the weather, opt to stay at home and enjoy your backyard or hike MetroParks’ trails virtually using Google Maps.

If you are feeling well enough for an outdoor adventure, be sure to check www.metroparks.org/COVID-19 to ensure your destination is open. Next, prepare to pack extra water, food, and a bag to carry your trash and animal waste out with you. Learn more.

  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces: This principle asks us to stick to established trails and other surfaces. While it is important to stick to the trails, it is also important to maintain the safe, CDC-recommended social distance of 6-feet or more.

Sticking to the trails also makes for a safer hiking experience, as you are less likely to be injured from a trip or fall. Avoiding these injuries keeps our frontline healthcare workers a little less busy and keeps you out of crowded waiting rooms. Learn more.

  • Dispose of waste properly: Five Rivers MetroParks, along with many other park districts, have removed waste collection bins. Visitors should be prepared to carry out everything they carry in – including animal waste. Carrying out your waste helps protect the health and safety of other parkgoers, MetroParks staff and the wildlife that inhabit the parks. Be sure to hike with a backpack or clothes with pockets, so you have a way to carry out your recyclables and trash.

Additionally, water fountains and refill stations are closed. Be sure to bring extra water with you on your excursion. Learn more.

  • Leave what you find: Spring is here and there are so many different flowers blooming. As much as a freshly picked bouquet of flowers might brighten your day, they will not be there for someone else to appreciate if you take them home. Instead of taking interesting things you find from the parks, snap pictures of unique, beautiful and interesting things you find in the parks and their them with your friends and family on social media.

MetroParks also loves to see what you find in the parks, so be sure to use the tag #natureisopen on your posts. MetroParks staff is working very hard to ensure your parks remain open and local habitats are protected; it brightens our day to see what you appreciate about your MetroParks! Learn more.

  • Minimize campfire impacts: Campsites are closed and MetroParks asks that people refrain from touching communal surfaces, including amenities at campsites. Instead, be think about roasting s’mores in your backyard firepit or grill. Learn more.
  • Respect wildlife: A conservation agency, Five Rivers MetroParks works hard to protect the region’s natural heritage, including local flora and fauna. Spring is a time of rebirth and you may notice new life buzzing, flying and scurrying around parks and trails. Think of social distancing as a measure always want to take when admiring wildlife. It’s okay to look from far away, but it’s never a good idea to approach a wild animal. Learn more.

If you find a struggling or lost animal or pet while you are on the trails, call the MetroParks Rangers’ non-emergency line at 937-222-HELP (4357).

  • Be considerate of other visitors: There are myriad of reasons people are itching to get outside, from more time spent indoors to beautiful weather. In fact, parks in Ohio have seen a 117% increase in park attendance. One way you can be considerate during a time when we must be apart in terms of distance is to be flexible. If you head pull into a parking lot that is full or note a busy trailhead, move on to a different outdoor destination. Now is the perfect time to discover your new favorite MetroPark or to explore other greenspace in the region. Learn more.

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