Avoiding Outdoor Confrontations During the Pandemic

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It’s no secret that there’s a social distancing problem in the great outdoors. Some people honor the basic guidelines for responsible outdoor exercise during the current COVID-19 crisis, others don’t seem to care. There’s the hiker who pushed a Texas park ranger into a lake, and the Massachusetts father who allegedly pulled a knife on an unmasked jogger. And in my otherwise friendly hometown of Bend, Ore., recent conflict between outdoor users resulted in a bike ban and one-way hiking designation on parts of the highly trafficked Deschutes River Trail. In other parts of the city, vandals defaced “closed signs” and forest service barriers to signal their displeasure at attempts to restrict their freedom of movement.

With governors and local legislators easing stay-at-home restrictions and reopening parks, beaches and other public lands,…

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