Quiet Memorial Day; officials encourage you to get outside safely

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 6:03 AM EDT
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Memorial Day is looking a lot different this year for every Vermont town, but especially in Burlington

Usually, Monday morning is when runners from across the region are recovering after the Vermont City Marathon. But in an effort to reduce overcrowding and limit large gatherings, the marathon was canceled in response to the pandemic. It's been rescheduled to take place this October.

In place of the marathon, RunVermont officials are encouraging runners to participate in a virtual series called "Give out, Give back." They say they want you to go on a run on your own and stay at a local hotel.

Memorial Day also marks the start of the hiking season in Vermont and this year is no different. But the state is asking you to take extra precautions when you're enjoying the outdoors. Hiking is a perfect opportunity to exercise and get some fresh air and officials say they want you to take advantage of the state's many options as long as you stay smart and courteous.

Officials have updated trail etiquette to reflect changes due to the pandemic. Out-of-staters are still asked to self-quarantine for at least 14 days after arriving in Vermont and before engaging in any activities. Avoid popular trailheads during the middle of the day when they're most crowded and opt for early morning or evening trips instead. Stay at least six feet away from others as much as possible and have a face covering on your neck at the ready should you get too close. Keep single file to create more room, even if that means you're hiking slower than you want to, but keep moving to avoid a backup. And always leash your dog.

"If you can make a personal decision to go outside and go hiking, that's wonderful. We want you to do that, but you should also be taking personal responsibility for your actions when you're out there," said Jessica Savage with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

Vermont State Parks also aren't staffed, but otherwise, the trails won't look that different, besides signs that encourage users to "Park, Play, Move On" so everyone can enjoy the experience. They also say mud season conditions still persist in a lot of places, so you'll likely encounter snow at higher elevations.

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