Engaging in outdoor exercise, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, walking and running are permitted activities under the executive order issued by Maine Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday, as long as people continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

“Getting outside to go fishing, hiking, canoeing, scouting for a hunt, or other outdoor activities are essential to not only your physical health, but your mental health as well, particularly during these difficult times,” said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso. “The governor and I continue to encourage people to get outdoors, but to do as close to home as possible and in strict adherence to physical distancing requirements. While it is important for your mental health to get outside, it is also important to do so safely.”

In Mills’ executive order 28 FY19/20, it specifically states that “engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as fishing, walking, hiking, running or biking,” are permitted, “but only in compliance with the gathering restriction in executive order FY19/20 and all applicable social distancing guidance published by the US and Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Outdoor activities that are allowed include (but are not limited to) the following: Hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, boating, trapping, birding, canoeing, smelting, kayaking, fiddleheading, hiking, snowmobiling and ATVing."

Maine residents are extremely active in the outdoors and a recent study showed that Maine ranked third in the percentage of residents who are engaged in outdoor recreation.

The executive order allows residents to continue to enjoy the outdoors while taking certain precautions.

The governor and commissioner also extended the renewal period for boating registrations and suspended the requirement to have a fishing license through Thursday, April 30 in order to support people getting outdoors. Turkey season also is set to begin on Monday, May 4 and many people are starting to scout in preparation for their hunt.

If one is going fishing, hunting, boating or hiking, remember to keep a minimum of six feet from other people. If one is driving to a spot to fish or enjoy the outdoors, travel only in a vehicle with members of your own household.

No matter where one is going or what the essential activity, one should follow these guidelines:

Avoid the crowds

• Visit lesser-known spots and explore close to home.

• Have a plan B and C in case your first destination is busy.

• Get outside earlier or later in the day.

• Recharge in your backyard and neighborhood.

Know before you go

• Stay at least six feet away from other people.

• Be prepared and stick to adventures within your experience level/comfort zone to avoid injuries and further stress on health-care resources.

• Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

• Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms.

• Always leave no trace, including cleaning up after a pet.

• Prevent tick bites by wearing light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and applying EPA-approved bug repellent.

• If one exhibits symptoms related to COVID-19, or if one recently has been exposed to COVID-19, stay home.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.