Social Distancing Outside

I hope this note finds you weathering today’s environment with a positive outlook. We know it isn’t easy. A week ago, we had to cancel the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, the Freedom First Down by Downtown Music Festival, and a new collaboration with Orvis on Down the Hatch – events that we invest a lot of time, energy, and heart into. We’ve also spent the past several days figuring out how Roanoke Outside can best serve our community right now. 

And the answer is to help local outdoor businesses survive and help you practice social distance (outside) by finding paths less traveled. 

As people grapple with the effects of social distancing, outdoor recreation can be an essential outlet. Hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, running, walking, camping, and more can all be engaged in while adhering to CDC guidelines for social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The key is to avoid popular places like popular greenway sections, McAfee Knob, Dragons Tooth, etc. 

It’s great to get outside, take a break from the news and screens, and get away from social media; public health officials are even recommending it.  

It’s equally important to be aware of and minimize your “touchpoints” when going outside. Explore your neighborhood, but if you decide to venture farther think “home” to “car” to “trail” and back. Limit your group to your household, avoid other people, and recognize any unnecessary risks that could put an additional burden on health professionals.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be using our newsletter (subscribe or update your preferences here) and social media channels to share ways you can take part in #socialdistancingoutside, use technology to maintain a connection with the outdoors, support local businesses, and learn about positive news and movements within our community. Positive attitudes are contagious, too. 

We’ll also share pertinent information our land managers want you to know. For example, the Appalachian Trail really doesn’t want people hiking it right now; whereas, Carvins Cove has waived their daily access fee, making it easier to get outside. Twin River Outfitters is opening for the season this Friday and has safety precautions in place to ensure social distancing while you are paddling. 

With more than 1,000 miles of trails right here in the Roanoke Region, it’s easy to find the #pathlesstraveled and we’re going to do our best to help you practice #socialdistancingoutside.

Yours outside,

Pete Eshelman 

P.S. Send me an email if you see anything you think our community needs to know about.