MONTPELIER, Vt. – With Memorial Day weekend now upon us, and many Vermonters taking to the woods and waters to recreate, Vermont State Game Wardens will be on patrol at Vermont’s Fishing Access Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, Vermont State Parks, and other recreation spots, reminding the public to observe the governor’s “Be Smart, Stay Safe” executive order. Members of the Vermont State Police will join in the effort to help keep Vermonters safe as they travel this weekend and enjoy the outdoors.
Memorial Day weekend has historically been one of the busiest weekends of the year for outdoor recreation in Vermont as people enjoy fishing, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. State Game Wardens are anticipating an even larger turnout this year, due to the favorable weather forecast and the importance of Vermonters staying local during the global pandemic.
While outdoor recreation is an important and needed outlet for Vermonters, it is essential that these activities are undertaken with COVID-19 safety in mind, for the health of those engaged in these activities and for vulnerable members of the community at large who may be susceptible to infection. Although the directive to remain within 10 miles of home has been lifted whenever possible, Vermonters should be enjoying these outdoor activities while limiting travel and visiting less crowded and less popular places to recreate.
“Ensuring the health and safety of Vermonters is our highest priority,” says Vermont’s Chief Warden, Col. Jason Batchelder. “It is important the public be mindful of the specific measures in place to protect them during the Be Smart, Stay Safe order. With boat ramps, fishing areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds attracting large groups of people, our wardens will be on patrol to remind Vermonters to observe safety guidelines including social distancing and good public hygiene.”
Guidance on outdoor recreation with COVID-19 safety in mind from the Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation can be found at www.fpr.vermont.gov/COVID-19. Related information from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department can be found at www.vtfishandwildlife.com/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19.
To view the full set of COVID-19 health information and guidance, please visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
The Vermont State Police will work in conjunction with the Department of Fish & Wildlife and other partners throughout the state, with a continued focus on educating the public about the governor’s orders and encouraging voluntary compliance – an effort that has been widely successful from the first days of the pandemic.
“We want to make sure people know they’re able to get out and enjoy themselves on what promises to be a beautiful Memorial Day weekend,” says Vermont State Police Director Col. Matthew T. Birmingham. “But at the same time, everyone should recognize that things will look a little different this year. We all have a shared responsibility to keep the safety, welfare, and health of our fellow Vermonters in mind when we head outdoors to recreate – responsibly.”
State troopers also will be on patrol on Vermont’s roads this holiday weekend, with a particular focus on preventing speeding, impaired operation, reckless and aggressive driving, and enforcing seat belt laws.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the Vermont State Police encourage Vermonters to celebrate the holiday weekend and all that our state’s natural resources have to offer, but remind everyone to continue to practice physical distancing and proper personal hygiene, including but not limited to using cloth face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
In addition, the number of people participating in any discrete activity should be limited to 10 or fewer. Non-residents are still encouraged not to travel to Vermont for recreational activities and are required to self-quarantine for at least 14 days if they do so. Vermonters are asked not to travel to other states to the greatest extent possible. To view the entire Be Smart, Stay Safe order, please visit: www.vermont.gov.
To find your nearest Fishing Access Area or Wildlife Management Area or for more information on outdoor recreational opportunities, please visit: www.vtfishandwildlife.com.