Curing COVID-19 with common sense

Lone Angler St Marys River
This angler, fishing solo in a motor boat, was following social distancing protocol two years ago. (Photo by Tom Pink)

While I certainly understand the need for social distancing practices and other measures necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19, it seems to me that cutting off some access to the outdoors is not the way to go.

Here in Michigan, the DNR has closed some state park facilities, such as bathrooms, and activities, such as fishing in charter boats, or fishing in a boat with someone who doesn’t live in your household. Those restrictions seem reasonable. It’s difficult to stay far enough apart from a fishing partner on a boat.

But the recent executive order from the governor that prohibits fishing from any type of motor boat goes way too far. If I can gas up my truck and my boat’s gas can without making extra trips to the gas pump, and then fish in my little boat by myself, where is the harm in that?

So far, recreational fishing is still allowed here, but that’s not the case in Washington state and other places, where all recreational fishing has been off-limits for weeks. So far, our state parks are open, but that may change, as it has over in Wisconsin. Crowded places in Michigan, such as Tippy Dam, have been closed because anglers aren’t staying far enough apart. Wouldn’t it be better to ticket those who are not following the rules, and leave the place open for those who do?

In Michigan, dispersed camping is not allowed through May 15. If you’re not camping with anyone other than persons with whom you’re already sharing a household, why would that be discouraged? Camping in the woods is the ultimate social distancing exercise.

The same with traveling to places outside of your community for outdoor recreation – if you fuel up before you go, don’t stop at places of business along the way and practice safe social distancing, who cares if you drive 10 miles or 100 miles?

As I said, I understand the need to slow the transmission of COVID-19 to help the medical community treat patients. But it seems to me that throwing unnecessary road blocks in front of people who are trying to stay healthy by playing outdoors will do little, if anything, to help the situation.

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Tom Pink

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