COVID-19 Guidelines

(Updated July 30, 2020) As our region begins to reopen, DC UL is also beginning its reopening. We are regularly monitoring COVID-19 and its impact to not just our area but those where we backpack, as well. We are committed to ensuring the safety of all our members. To that end, DC UL has developed the following guidelines for our trips.

  • All participants should clearly and honestly communicate any concerns they have regarding their potential exposure. You should stay home if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if you have been in close contact with anyone who has displayed such symptoms, or otherwise believe that you might have been exposed.
    • If you have any concerns or considerations that you’d like to address about your participation or our guidelines, we encourage and welcome you to reach out directly to the event leader or to DC UL’s organizer with your questions.
  • We will be following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on mask wearing and social distancing, and will adhere to state or local policies where we go. In other words:
    • Masks are required. Attendees should bring a mask or other way to cover their mouth and nose (Buff, bandanna, etc.) on our trips and plan to wear it if backpacking in an area where it is impossible to stay six feet apart from other hikers. They also should bring extra hand sanitizer or other way to keep your hands clean.
    • Attendees should avoid congregating on trails or at intersections, and should endeavor to maintain six feet apart while at camp and while hiking.
    • Make sure you are aware not only of your state’s “shelter in place” status but that of the state and locality of where you are going.
    • Be respectful of trail communities by limiting interactions with businesses while traveling to/from or while on a trip.
  • For the time being, we will focus on locations that avoid popular hiking and backpacking destinations and aim toward less visited areas. We will also focus on trips that do not involve car shuttles for the time being—so no point-to-point trips.
  • No official carpools for the time being. Location meeting points will be set at the trailhead. Again, we are following social distancing recommendations. Attendees should assume responsibility for getting themselves to the trailhead.
    • It is recognized that this may impact accessibility to trip participation for those DC UL members without a car. While it may be an additional cost above what a rider would typically pay as per our carpool policy, renting, car share, or finding a car to borrow are options.
  • We will continue to adhere to our policy of following LNT guidance for groups to be no larger than 10 – and even smaller if needed given the trailhead being used. 
  • Consider your recent fitness level before participating on a trip, especially if you have not been hiking recently. If a trip leader hasn’t been out on a hike with you recently, the leader may reach out to discuss the trip in more detail with you to ensure you are prepared.
  • At camp, we will avoid shelters and disperse tents/hammocks, which may require using multiple sites.
  • We have restarted our low-mileage trips as of July 2020.

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