The American Discovery Trail and COVID-19
The covid-19 pandemic continues, and life in the United States has not returned to normal. We look forward to the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares the pandemic over or under control. Until that time, we urge potential trail users to proceed with the utmost caution and with the knowledge that many facilities may not be open (or have restrictions on use).
The American Discovery Trail is composed of a patchwork of trails through many states that have widely varying policies on covid-19. Different areas of the country are opening up at varying rates, so trail users must be ready to research the policies of a state or region they will be passing through.
The ADT Society notes that CDC recommendations allow much more freedom for vaccinated people in the activities they can engage in safely. For example, the CDC now considers it safe for vaccinated people to engage in almost all forms of outdoor recreation without wearing masks and even be indoors without masks.
For individual protection, to get the pandemic under control as quickly as possible, and to
prevent the rise of new variants, the CDC “recommends you get a covid-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective. After you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can start to do some things that you had to stop doing because of the pandemic.”
CDC recommendations for outdoor activities can be found here:
The ADT Society notes what the organizations that manage other long-distance trails are
recommending. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recently noted that because a vaccine has become widely available, it has removed its caution against thru-hiking. The Pacific Crest Trail Association says on its website: “On a somber note, we’re still in the covid-19 pandemic—and that means there is still risk to everyone on and off the Pacific Crest Trail.”
Trail users should note that state coordinators and other volunteers may continue to be more limited in any face-to-face assistance for the duration of the coronavirus emergency, but will be available at the email addresses on our website. Local citizens that trail users meet along their journey may be much more comfortable interacting with vaccinated travelers.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update our recommendations periodically.