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4 Unique Ways That the Camping Community Is Stepping up During COVID-19

We're in this together.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

With all of us adapting to social distancing requests and shelter-in-place orders, its easy to overlook the cooler things happening in the country in response to COVID-19. 

Some of those neat things are happening right here within our camping community, with everyone from park managers to company executives thinking of new ways to help during the pandemic.

We're grateful for this the generous adventure community and can't wait to see you out on the trails again soon.

1. Campgrounds at Isolation Centers

Photo by Alex E

Some states across the United States are asking their parks to play a role in COVID-19 response. One such park is Bayou Segnette State Park, on the outskirts of New Orleans. Two weeks ago, Louisiana decided to close the park and campground to utilize the space as an overflow isolation facility. 

"We are committed to assisting with needed services and facilities during this public health crisis," said Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser in a press release. "While we understand that this will inconvenience visitors with reservations at this park, the greater mission right now is to do everything possible to get this virus under control."

Louisiana temporarily closed all of its state parks on March 24, and two of those are slated as potential overflow isolation spots.

Other states that are utilizing state-owned parks and facilities for medical uses include Georgia and California.

2. New Uses for Rental RVs

Photo by Chris Engelsman

Anyone who has taken a long road trip in the United States has seen rental RVs on the road, at campgrounds, and in national parks. Rental RV companies like Cruise America and El Monte provide fully-equipped units for trips starting in major cities, and RV-share services like Outdoorsy and RVshare connect individual camper owners across the country with those who want to rent them.

Both Cruise America and El Monte have offered up the use of their rental RVs as mobile staging units, mobile medical units, command centers, single-person isolation units, or simply as extra space for living or working. Cruise America is also offering one-way rental to help re-connect or move family members.

While Outdoorsy and RVshare do not have their own units to offer, they are doing what they can to help. RVshare Disaster Response Solutions was created to connect first responders and mission-critical personnel with RV owners in their community. 

3. Some Campgrounds Are Staying Open for Full-Timers

Photo by Jess Curren

We all know that now isn't the time for leisure travel, and for the estimated one million full-time RVers and 'vanlifers', the closure of campgrounds throughout the United States is restricting their ability to safely hunker down and shelter-in-place

For those that are full-timers living in their vans and RVs, there are still some campgrounds open to safely hunker down and shelter-in-place. There are also a growing number of requests to strategically open more for medical workers and full-timers; however, restrictions are changing quickly, and there are no guarantees that any will, in fact, open up again while we're in this time. If you're a full-timer looking for a home, continually check out campgrounds like Kampgrounds of America to see what and where is still open. 

4. Social Distancing Solidarity on Social Media

Photo by Chris Burkard

While social media isn't always the best place to go when you're looking for solidarity, there has been plenty of it to go around (along with an avalanche of virus-related memes) over the past few weeks.

From well-known adventurers to casual weekend warriors, it seems that everyone has taken to Instagram to spread the word about flattening the curve and putting this whole situation behind us as fast as possible.

"Nature will wait. I hope we can too," posted adventure photographer @chrisburkard

"We can't wait to be able to freely explore once again when COVID-19 has been defeated. But until then, we will continue to practice safe #socialdistancing and avoid traveling to new and far away places in order to do our part," shared @thehikinghusbands

"Staying At Home is not about your FOMO and the public lands road trip that you’re not on right now. You can still get outside while also Staying At Home. I bet that many of you already know what that is and what it looks like. We can do this. And we should do this. For our neighbors, our family and friends, and for our community. Let’s all stay home right and do the greatest good for the greatest number," posted @im_nicolemarie, founder of Women Who Hike.

Cover photo by Noah Twining

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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