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Operations Update

Posted on April 7, 2020

April 8, 2020: An Update on Operations

Dear members and friends,

As events continue to unfold during the COVID-19 crisis and we adjust to our “new normal,” I wanted to provide an update on what we are doing here at Chikaming Open Lands (COL).  Our physical office is closed and will remain so until we receive direction from state officials that it is safe to re-open. We are continuing the work of COL with staff working remotely and meetings continuing as scheduled but conducted virtually. All programming and events have been canceled until further notice. We will keep you updated on our ongoing work via emails, our website, and social media.

We are pleased to hear that so many of you are taking advantage of our nature preserves during this period of sheltering in place. It’s no secret that immersion in nature provides a variety of benefits, all of which are especially useful during this unprecedented time—you can get some exercise while the gym is closed, achieve a little mental clarity during a time of uncertainty, and enjoy a bit of serenity to help combat the anxiety we are all feeling.  
 
Here are a couple of things to note:

● COL’s preserves are open for the public to enjoy. We are putting our trust in visitors to be smart and safe during any visit. Please allow at least 6 feet between individuals and groups from different households when encountering others on the trail. You can find more information about our preserves, including trail maps, on our website.

● Limited stewardship work in our preserves will continue to ensure the safety of visitors. COL staff and stewards will be making regular solo visits to our public preserves to make sure that the trails are open and safe, and to monitor for negative impacts from increased use, like vandalism or erosion along trails. 

● At this time, we will be limiting the use of equipment and power tools for trail maintenance and other stewardship activities. Limiting these higher risk activities will reduce the chance of injury which would place additional burden on our healthcare system. As a result, some work like removal of a large fallen tree on a trail may need to be delayed. We will assess these needs as they arise to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

● As stated above, we will do our best to monitor the preserves; however, we welcome communications from our visitors. Please contact us to report any issues you find during your visit—vandalism, downed trees, overly heavy traffic, etc. If you can include a photo, please do. And please also let us know if you have had a good experience—what spring flowers are coming up, what wildlife you saw, etc. 

Finally, I wanted to thank you all for your support. Whether you have been a stewardship volunteer, made a financial contribution, worked with us to protect a piece of land, helped us lead local school children on Mighty Acorns field studies, participated in the #10Trail Challenge or any other of our programs, or just brought some friends with you on a hike to one of our preserves, your commitment to conservation and partnership with COL has made it possible for us to provide these natural open spaces for the entire community to enjoy.

If you have any questions, please email me at rpostema@chikamingopenlands.org. Please stay safe and well.

Sincerely,
Ryan J. Postema
Executive Director