With social distancing being the new norm for now, cabin fever is bound to set in. Several states have taken steps encouraging outdoor excursions to help ward off these ill effects, namely waiving various fees and requirements associated with outdoor activities.
Though revenue generated by the sale of fishing licenses is crucial, states such as Arkansas, West Virginia, Missouri, Maine and Indiana have all taken steps to ease licensing requirements through this difficult time. In the former four states, fishing-license requirements have been waived completely for a limited time (though in some cases just for native anglers), while in Indiana, the expiration date for last year's licenses has been pushed back, allowing current fishermen to keep on fishing.
Other states have waived select requirements for hunting. North Carolina, for example, explained in an e-newsletter that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has temporarily waived the field-day requirement through the end of April, for its online hunter education courses.
While some states have closed state parks and cancelled various events scheduled to take place there, other states, like New York, Wisconsin, Delaware and Michigan, have instead sought to promote outdoor activity by waiving park entry fees.
Fees are being dropped on a national level, too. According to a National Park Service (NPS) release on March 18, the NPS has temporarily suspended park entrance fees, per secretary of the interior David Bernhardt's instruction.
“I’ve directed the National Park Service to waive entrance fees at parks that remain open,” said Bernhardt. “This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks.”
Since the announcement, several parks have modified operations to effectively implement current health guidelines, and some have even closed, though there are still plenty of national parks open to the public. To see what limitations are in effect for national parks, visitnps.gov/findapark/index.htm.
Though there’s quite a bit missing from our everyday lives, there’s no better time to get out of our homes, get some distance, and head into the great outdoors.