Outdoor recreation guidelines have been issued by the state. Photo by Jay Hemphill
As outdoor lands and some recreational areas reopen in New Mexico, state officials are reminding residents to be respectful of these places and continue to take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Restrictions under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s health emergency begin to ease, and that means the phased-in reopening of state parks, trails, and public areas. To enjoy these beautiful places, it’s essential that the public practices responsible recreation, in accordance with updated outdoor recreation guidelines issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office and the Outdoor Recreation Division of the Economic Development Department.
“As we spend more time in New Mexico’s great outdoors, let’s remember that we all share these beautiful spaces and must protect them as well as each other,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “You will not be alone.
Just as you would at the grocery store, please practice social distancing and put on a face mask when passing other hikers, bikers and bird-watchers on the trail. And – as always – be respectful of the landscape. Follow all restrictions including burn bans and leave nothing behind — whether it’s dog waste, your picnic trash, or the jacket you needed in the morning but not in the afternoon.”
“The outdoors can provide solace and healing right now, but in order for us to protect one another and land management staff, we need to follow some common-sense rules when we recreate,” Axie Navas, Director of the Outdoor Recreation Division, said. “Stay within small household groups, always carry a mask, and remember to prioritize the health of fellow recreationists as well as the health of New Mexico’s lands and waters.”
As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, it’s also important to remember that many areas of Northwest New Mexico, and tribal lands elsewhere in the state, remain closed due to health concerns and the spread of the virus.
Ten rules for New Mexicans looking to get outside:
- The health of others should still be your top priority. Bring a mask whenever you recreate and put in on when approaching other groups. Practice physical distancing.
- Forget about campfires. There are statewide fire restrictions in place. Check this site for details on fire bans before you go on a trip.
- Avoid crowded trailheads. Have a back-up plan if your favorite spot is too crowded. Remember, the State Parks that are open are operating under limited, day-use only capacity.
- Check for closures. Check the land management agencies’ websites before venturing out to recreate. Many of these places are closed right now to protect both recreationists and staff.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack it in, pack it out. Protect your fellow outdoor recreationists. Protect the natural resources.
- Be prepared. Many developed recreation sites (including bathrooms) remain closed. Be self-sufficient by bringing in your own snacks, waters, and trash bags.
- You can only camp overnight at dispersed, remote campsites. All public and private developed campsites remain closed.
- You can book some outdoor guided trips and coaching sessions. You must still adhere to all group-size limits and physical distancing rules. Don’t go out if you are sick. If you are not exhibiting symptoms, wear a mask to protect your guide or coach. Follow all the Covid-safe practices outlined by the Governor’s Office.
- Gear rentals can resume. So long as the equipment is properly and thoroughly sanitized between uses.
- Public gatherings, events, and camping in developed sites are still banned.
Visit the Outdoor Recreation Division’s website for current information about public lands closures and re-openings. Please forward your questions about the guidelines to Axie Navas, Director of the Outdoor Recreation Division, at 505-660-5992 or email Alexandra.Navas@state.nm.us.