Record editorial: Get outdoors for some socially distant fun, but use extra caution
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage through the summer, many residents will be flocking to the Uinta Mountains and Summit County’s other outdoor areas in search of an escape.
That’s a good idea. Health experts have said recreating outdoors, where wide-open space makes social distancing easy, is one of the safest ways to get out of the house for some fun during the crisis.
But that doesn’t mean we can be careless.
While the threat of contracting the disease is generally reduced in the outdoors, the coronavirus has made the dangerous service Summit County Search and Rescue members provide even more risky. The nature of performing rescues requires close contact with others, potentially putting team members in danger of getting the disease.
“Every time we go out, there’s a risk,” Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Alan Siddoway recently told The Park Record.
That’s something everyone — even people without COVID-19 symptoms — need to think about before heading into the wilderness and taking any action that could result in the need for the Search and Rescue team to respond.
The coronavirus danger is on top of the typical hazards that concern the Search and Rescue team and other emergency responders when people begin heading outdoors in large numbers.
For one, the fire outlook this summer is concerning after an exceptionally dry spring. An ignored campfire, or even an errant ember, could spark a blaze that taxes firefighting resources or endangers buildings or, in a worst-case scenario, lives. Officials are also quick to note the danger of rushing water this time of year as rivers and streams swell with the snowmelt.
In a summer marked by the health threat of the pandemic, residents should seek refuge in the outdoors. Doubtless, we could all use a few days in nature to clear our heads after a stressful spring.
Go camping. Take a hike. Explore the beautiful wilderness we’re fortunate to have in our backyard.
But, please — do it safely. In addition to protecting yourself and those around you, acting with caution this summer could also ensure you’re not putting anyone else at risk.
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