June – what a wonderful month to spend time outdoors, especially for those of us lucky enough to be living in the great state of Washington with so many world-class outdoor recreational opportunities. The past few months have been rather difficult for everyone since many Washingtonians had to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” to assist in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Governor Jay Inslee had to close state parks and public lands, golf courses, and delay hunting and fishing seasons. Fortunately, with the “Safe Start” reopening plan and the ease of restrictions, we can start enjoying the great outdoors once again in a safe and responsible way. Who can deny that participating in outdoor activities is one of the most effective ways to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being?
National Get Outdoors Day
Take advantage of the warmer weather and the many outdoor opportunities Washington state has to offer individuals of all ages. With over one million acres of publicly owned land and over 500 water access areas throughout Washington state, it’s easy to find activities to suit almost everyone and enjoy our state’s natural gifts on National Get Outdoors Day on June 13th. Best of all on that day, you can visit any Washington state park for free (no need to purchase a Discovery Pass on that day). Please, visit the Washington State Parks website to find out which parks have opened and the restrictions which may apply.
Hang Your Gone Fishing Sign
Families can enjoy numerous activities that are not only fun and healthy but also a great chance to bond. For example, we can spend a relaxing day teaching our children the old-age pastime of fishing. You are sure to have fun and even catch your dinner since many of our state park lakes and ponds are stocked with rainbow, cutthroat, and kokanee trout. Make sure that your fishing license is up to date though. For license information, visit the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) licensing webpage. Please also note that the Department of Fish & Wildlife is advising hunters and anglers to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities only if they can do so locally, while also practicing physical distancing and remember that most places are still only open for day-outings.
Cast Off for Adventure
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Washington state is recreational boating. Washington State Parks estimates that there are several hundred thousand Washingtonians who own at least one canoe, kayak, rowboat, personal watercraft, stand up paddleboard, drift boat, runabout, sailboat, motor yacht or some other type of recreational vessel. That’s because our state is blessed with water adventures to suit just about everyone with 157 miles of coastline, 169 rivers and 8,000 lakes. We have some of the greatest ocean waves you can find anywhere, glacial lakes, raging rivers and placid streams.
Hit the Trails
We can also go on kid-friendly (or for that matter parent-friendly) hikes or horseback riding that provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for wildlife and the natural beauty of our state. Washington state probably has the most spectacular trails in the country and some may even say in the world. There are literally hundreds of incredible and diverse trails. You’ll be amazed by scenic waterfalls, majestic mountain tops, or even high desert landscapes found inland to the east. If you are planning to go on a hike, please refer to Washington Trails Association’s hiking guide to find out which trails are open near you to enjoy during this outdoors month.
Juicy Berry Picking
Another fun activity that most of us have loved to do in June ever since we were kids is berry-picking. It wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t go to a U-pick farm to pick strawberries. Just make sure you call ahead to find out the days and times the farms are hosting U-pick events and get there before noon since the best berries will be picked by then. Also, don’t forget to bring cash just in case they don’t accept credit/debit cards.
Get Out and Have Fun!
Whatever outdoor activity you choose to take part in this great outdoors month, having fun and truly enjoying your time outdoors should be your goal. Of course, always be prepared and practise social distancing. Also, to avoid the risk of injury, play it safe and choose lower-risk activities. Finally, respect public lands and communities by taking your trash with you and try to cause minimal disturbance to the environment. Let’s all get out there and have a great time!