Outdoor Recreation in Macomb County Offers Much-Needed Outlet

If you’re feeling a sense of cabin fever, are stressed by the balance of working at home while caring for your children or simply need an outlet during this unprecedented time, step outside and get on the move.

Being active outdoors boasts big benefits — physically and mentally — for all ages, so why not take a hike on your favorite trail or enjoy a bike ride?

“There’s a lot of information from the medical field both psychologically and physically that being outdoors or being in nature actually helps the immune system,” says Gerard Santoro, the Program Director for Macomb County Parks and Natural Resources.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, physical activity helps reduce stress and anxiety, and consistently being active helps with depression.

Thinking about hitting a local Macomb County trail or visiting your local Metropark? Here, Santoro offers insight on how to be active while following social distancing rules.

Social distancing and other considerations

Enjoying some outdoor fun requires a bit more planning and consideration these days as many areas are closed, such as playgrounds, which have been closed to the public.

“We’re directing (people) towards natural areas with trails or regional trails, or kayaking or canoeing with their own vessels, because everything else is off limits,” Santoro says. “Any playground equipment and restrooms are typically off limits at this point. There are going to be some limitations,” he says.

Do not visit a park or trail if you’re exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus, including fever and dry cough. Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer along your walk or bike ride, and sneeze or cough into your elbow.

If you’re hitting a hiking trail, be sure to adhere to safe distancing of 6 feet between you and another person at all times. If you’re on a trail, step aside or walk off the trail if another group is headed your way to ensure you abide by the safe distancing rule. If a trail is being overly used, reconsider using it, he suggests. Or use it early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s not busy.

Water recreation is permitted, with some exceptions, so why not take a trip on your kayak or canoe?

“If they do go in a canoe, it should only be with those from the same household and you should still be exercising where necessary, safe distancing when launching,” Santoro says.

You don’t want to create an emergency, so think twice before participating in a strenuous activity. After all, Santoro notes, you might be taking first responders away from where they are, or could be, truly needed.

Those interested in launching a kayak or canoe can do so off the Clinton River.

“The Clinton River has eight boat launches already in place, everywhere from Shelby Township all the way down through Mount Clemens,” Santoro notes.

These launches can be utilized right now. View the map here.

“No matter what you do, it’s all about staying safe and making sure you’re being considerate of others,” Santoro says.

So, pack up the kids and head to your nearest nature trail or on the water for some outdoor fun.

For more information on Macomb County, visit the Make Macomb Your Home website.

Note: Things are rapidly changing. Be sure to refer to the most recent update of the executive order before heading out to your local trail or park.

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