Challenges of Opening In-Person Hikes
We recognize that public spaces have begun to open and stay-home orders and other restrictions have begun to loosen in certain communities. We are currently evaluating what in-person hikes will look like and what systems we need to have in place to support safe in-person hiking events in the post-Quarantine environment. These are some of the challenges we face in making decisions around allowing group activities as an organization with over 300 branches in North America:
- Most guidelines are still limiting group size and requiring social distance. Maintaining 6 feet of separation is hard to expect with small children and on narrow trails. Mask wearing guidelines are varied and also not recommended for children under 2 years, which is a large portion of our participants, making it hard to establish safe and effective protocols that allow us to support in person hiking.
- Our calendar team is entirely volunteer-based and it is too much to ask of them to monitor and stay up-to-date with the various local guidance to approve or deny hike events case by case, so we need to keep our approach as simple and as global as possible.
- Many communities are seeing a rise in cases as they re-open, which leaves us wondering if allowing/encouraging in-person events is the best way to ensure individual families can stay safe and healthy. We are letting time help inform our larger decision making before re-opening in-person events.
The Importance of Getting Outside
However, we also recognize that time in nature is important to everyone’s personal wellness
and we do not want to get in the way of that. Some of our branches are in rural areas with very low risk and in states where larger group gatherings are allowed and we understand it may be frustrating to not have the HiB calendar as a resource. Our goal is not to stop you from hiking or being social. We do have a duty to keep our members and volunteers safe, so we ask that you extend patience and understanding while we navigate this new terrain. Please extend this grace to your hike hosts and ambassadors as well and know that ultimately, we all want everyone to stay safe and healthy.
Keep it Local, Keep it Safe
If it is safe and in accordance with local guidelines for you to meet in your area, please organize any meet-ups outside of the Hike it Baby platform as private, non-HiB sanctioned activities. This means not posting them on HiB Facebook group pages or on the HiB Calendar on our website.
Once we have guidelines we can apply universally we will look to opening up our calendar for events and hikes once again and we will continue to communicate openly and actively as we make these decisions. We appreciate your continued patience.
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com
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Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig.