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It always bothers me when groups with broad delegated authority such as Saugeen Conservation identify a problem and then take the most drastic action possible without even trying to rectify the specific problem.

In this case the problem is apparently about a lack consideration by some people for the need of social distancing.. The solution they reached is to ban everyone from activities that likely have a positive effect in combating covid-19.

It is well known that outdoor exercise offers a reduced risk of illness. You don’t need a gym to exercise! Most are closed anyway. Large parks and long trails have lots of space and allows you the ability to maintain social distances while exercising.. Exercise also kick starts your immune system and improves its defense. There is a clear relationship between exercise and a reduced risk of illness.

As long as you practice social distancing, you can continue your outdoor activities such as walks, runs and yard work, to the extent your health allows it. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been a lifelong runner and is still making time for a daily jog even amid a global crisis,

Saugeen Conservation should be saying that trails and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. They should recommend people follow local and provincial guidelines regarding the use of these spaces and recognize that these guidelines must be adhered to.

They should encourage the use of local parks, trails and open spaces and encourage all users to follow these good recommendations:

• Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms.
• Maintain good personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
• Prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.
• While on trails, warn other users of their presence and as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.
• Follow provincial and local guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
• Observe the minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space.
• Consult their local and provincial ordinances and guidelines for the most up to date recommendations on park and trail use.

We all should encourage local jurisdictions to keep parks, trails and open spaces accessible as long as it is safe to do so.

Richard Macdonald, Owen Sound





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