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Before you begin reading this – another email alert about the COVID-19 crisis – take a deep breath. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Go ahead. It only takes a few seconds.
Now do it again, and this time as you inhale think about your favorite place in Nature.
One last time – deep breath in, and out.
I hope this note finds you safely navigating the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis. At the Arizona Trail Association, we are taking the situation very seriously. We care about our staff, volunteers, stewards, partners, and all of the hikers, runners, mountain bikers, equestrians and others who have made the Arizona Trail part of their lives. People like you.
While much about COVID-19 is still unknown, one message has been quite clear: Social distancing is the primary way to prevent the spread of the virus. It is our responsibility as global citizens to do our part to slow the spread of the pandemic. For this reason, all ATA Staff have been asked to work from home, and we are in the process of canceling previously scheduled events and activities that involve 10 or more individuals over the next six weeks.
Perhaps there has never been a better time to go for a hike or ride than right now. While many of our favorite establishments are temporarily shuttered and our routines shattered, the Arizona Trail remains open and welcomes you. Consider being part of the Quarantine Outside movement. Travel alone to a trailhead and spend a few hours (or days or weeks) on the AZT. The calming effects of Arizona’s landscapes should not be underestimated, and you’d be surprised how a day on the trail can refresh your perspective.
As we all do our best to keep our communities healthy and safe, the ATA will seek out and share any authoritative public health guidance about ways people can get outside and maintain their physical and mental health while still following best practices on protection and safety.
While the ATA’s physical offices will be temporarily closed and some of our trail work activities put on hold, our mission to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land will advance unabated. Trails have a restorative power and will be vital to our nation’s persistence and recovery. We will get through this together, and trails will help heal us.
Now, consider turning off the news for a little while and embrace this beautiful springtime weather.
And don’t forget to breathe deeply.
Recommendations for Thru-Hikers & Riders
Notice for anyone planning a long-distance hike or ride on the Arizona Trail:
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