Friday, April 3, 2020

Saving Recess: New Rules, Same Great Outdoors

Y’all, if we don’t get better at enjoying public outdoor space in isolation, we’re going to lose the privilege of enjoying it at all.

I know it’s hard. For one thing, suddenly everyone is vying for the same popular green spaces at the same time.

Plus we’re socially wired for polite distancing, not quarantine distancing. And we’re innately trusting. If that guy’s feeling good enough to go for a jog, surely he’s healthy, right?

I met a friend at a greenway the other day where we walked two miles, hollering our conversation from opposite sides of the 10-foot paved trail. That felt funny. Especially since we’re good buddies who usually start and end our get-togethers with a hug. But that's what it's going to take to do this thing right.

At that same greenway, someone has very helpfully spray painted marked 6-foot lines along the path to remind us what it means to hold that distance. I wish more people there were taking note.

Fortunately, we've got lots of recreation options and resources. Like these lesser-known Catawba Lands Conservancy trails. Or this Carolina Thread Trail guide to neighborhood nature tours. And this helpful Bike Charlotte back-on-the-bike safety check.

You can also follow Mecklenburg County Park and Rec on Facebook for updates and ideas (like their new "Happy at Home" video series. Now playing: Learn how to juggle!) Maybe this is an opportunity to discover your new favorite local outdoor spot -- one with ample parking and plenty of room to disperse.

It has probably been since elementary school since many of us have worried about losing outdoor play time. Now, I hope we can all agree to follow the rules like our recess depends on it.

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