Our Covid Response

UPDATED TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2020 – link to our webpage with up-to-date information
With the current resurgence of COVID-19 cases and consistent with the Governor’s ongoing recommendations to limit indoor and outdoor gatherings – and out of an abundance of caution, SWMLC’s office at Chipman House will remain closed to the public, and our events and programs have been canceled until further notice.
Please check back for updates – and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

As always, our nature preserves remain free and open for the public to enjoy from dawn to dusk, every day.

During the strange new reality that’s been created by the spread of COVID-19, we’re inspired by the large numbers of people who are turning to nature to find balance. As a local land trust, a big part of our job is to provide the community with beautiful and accessible natural places where you can take a walk in the woods, look for signs of spring, watch and listen for wildlife, and just escape for a short time into nature. Please take advantage of these local “wild” places – you can find one near you (or explore one that’s further away) by checking our preserve descriptions page.

While visiting the preserves, please remember to follow safe health practices and help us protect the environment:

– Stay at least 6 feet away from other visitors outside of your household. If you encounter another individual or family on the trail, please step aside and wait for them to safely pass. In the parking lot, please keep a safe distance while getting into and out of your car.
– During this time, please hike alone or only with those with whom you already share a household. Please, no group hikes or meetups at this time.
– If you are sick or showing any symptoms of illness, please stay at home.
– If you are in a high-risk category, please stay home.
– Group gatherings and events are prohibited.

– If the lot is full, please come back another time. Please DO NOT park along the road.

– avoid touching surfaces that others may have touched, such as posted maps or kiosk displays.
– carry hand sanitizer in your car and use it before touching the car’s interior. Wipe down anything that may have been contaminated with alcohol or bleach wipes when you get home.
– wash your hands after you get home.

– Please help keep our preserves clean by packing out your trash (including dog waste) and leaving no trace. We are a local non-profit with a small staff and a large, nine-county service area, and are just not able to maintain garbage cans at each one of our public preserves.
– Find out more at the offical Leave No Trace website.

– We love dogs and welcome them on our preserves BUT
– Dogs must be actively restrained on a 6-foot leash (it’s polite, it protects wildlife, and it’s the law in Michigan).
– Dog waste must be picked up and packed out.

– Please stay on the trail (except to allow others to pass) to avoid trampling the upcoming spring wildflowers and to keep erosion to a minimum.

Need more information about safe ways to enjoy the outdoors during the COVID-19 outbreak? Check out these links:

American Hiking Society
National Recreation and Park Association

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Hope to see you out on the trails – and hope that you and your loved ones are (and remain) happy, healthy, and safe!
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