Summer is here, COVID restrictions have eased, and it’s a beautiful time to get outside - with some considerations.

The pandemic caused a $22-million budget shortfall for Oregon State Parks, which means fewer staff educating visitors and maintaining facilities. Coupled with feeling tired of staying home and record unemployment, we have increased foot traffic in our outdoors spaces with fewer caretakers.

More than ever, it’s important to be good stewards of the outdoors.

 Know before you go. Find out what’s open, if dogs (leashes?) or fires are allowed.

Prepare before you go. Gas up at home. Pack food, water, toilet paper, trash bags and hand sanitizer in order to conquer any facility closures and to not further drain rural communities’ resources.

Leave it better than you found it. For the health of our planet and the enjoyment of fellow humans, please pack out any trash, food scraps, and human and dog waste.

Reduce your trash by leaving home with reusable water bottles and food packed in reusable containers.

Organize a family beach cleanup. Make a competition by tracking your results with Surfrider Foundation’s beach cleanup tool (select your home chapter to give credit).

Above all, if you play it safe and mindful, you’ll enjoy the coast without causing negative impact.

Jessica Gilligan

Beaverton

(Jessica Gilligan grew up on the Oregon coast and serves as an executive committee volunteer of Surfrider Foundation-Portland.)

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