In the face of intense cabin fever, a little courtesy goes a long way.
The gusto with which so many locals have embraced Spring Break and fled to more temperate climes only underscores what we’re all feeling: cabin fever like we’ve never felt before. Most years, by the time the snow starts to recede, we’re enthused to greet the season of gardening, camping, and fishing in sandals. This winter, with pandemic restrictions heaped onto our usual sense of cooped-up-ness, it feels as though the community is practically twitching with excitement to get outside and shed a few layers.
As trails open up, and boat ramps get busier, I’m hopeful that as a community we can keep one another’s experiences in mind and each do our part to use our shared spaces responsibly. If we all commit to being courteous users of public lands and access points, we’ll all be able to enjoy the best that our valley has to offer.
In that spirit, I offer a few reminders to us all:
Dispose of trash properly. Litterbugs are a bummer. Nobody likes to roll up to an awesome campsite only to be greeted by last weekend’s empty cans and wads of possibly-used toilet paper. Take responsibility for the items you bring into outdoor spaces, and make sure they make the return trip to civilization with you.
Fully extinguish fires. All the way. Every time. Whether you use plenty of water, or smother a fire with dirt or sand, be confident that it is cold to the touch.
Keep your cool in congested areas. Boat ramps and trailheads can get chaotic. Easy ways to help things stay chill include driving slowly, parking responsibly, keeping dogs leashed up, and doing any gear-readying out of the flow of traffic.
Remember that Covid isn’t over. As more of our community receives vaccines, we hope to see numbers of Covid infections on the decline. But with emerging variants and an uptick in summertime tourism, the pandemic is far from finished. Wear your mask, and continue to socially distance from folks who aren’t in your immediate party.
If you’re bringing Fido, be responsible. Leash dogs in busy areas like trailheads and parking lots. Pick up any waste that your dog leaves. (Poop. That means scooping it. And then following through by removing the bag, too.)
Respect boundaries. Some winter closures are still in effect, and that’s for good reason. Wildlife depends on those spaces to make it through the last weeks before there’s an abundance of green growth to eat. Similarly, respect private property. Not only is it courteous, it’s the law.
In short, let’s remember that we’re not the only ones excited to get back to hiking, biking, lazy floats on the Teton, and relaxed evenings around a campfire. Our friends, neighbors, and visitors are excited to enjoy Teton Valley as well. There’s room for all of us, and we can all take responsibility to share these special places in a conscientious way.