Coronavirus’s Outdoors Black Swan Impact
Dr. John Woods 07.01.20
Who would have ever thought that the American outdoors could be so negatively impacted by a disease? COVID-19 has caused a catastrophic shutdown of virtually all outdoors activities and venues nationwide. Sure you can still walk on your street so long as you stay away from other people, but universally our great outdoors has been gated and locked since early March.
So, what is a black swan event anyway? The Black Swan theory was developed by author Nassim Taleb as a metaphor for an event or scenario that comes out of nowhere as a total shock to people. COVID-19 is a classic Black Swan. It came as a surprise and has caused a great impact to health and economies all over the world. If the theory holds true, COVID will be wrongly rationalized later as we look back on the entirety of its impact.
Some of the restrictions are just now beginning to be lifted, but not altogether yet. Then there is the fear that a resurgence may emerge once people start dropping social distancing rules again. These are scary prospects as we enter the late spring of the best fishing seasons, and hunters are even starting to think about going to the woods again.
COVID-19 has caused the outdoors and nearly all related activities to be sheltered. In most states all public outdoor venues have been closed. This includes state and local parks, wildlife management areas, state fishing lakes including those managed by the Corps of Engineers, access to national forests and parks, and so much more. Many public access walking and hiking trails have been closed or have highly restrictive use practices especially social distancing rules. This makes citizens feel very limited as to what outdoor activities they can participate in.
Public camping area including ones associated with state parks have been sheltered, too. This is the prime time of year for people to be outside especially camping, RVing, canoeing on rivers, creeks, and lakes, general boating activities and all of the traditional outdoor pursuits this time of year. The Black Swan has put a hold on nearly everything outdoors people do this time of year.
Hopefully as the Covid cases begin to level off, or decline some of the venues will begin to open up. This is happening now in limited cases around the country. It will take time to once again experience full participation in usual outdoor activities. All we can do is continue to protect ourselves and family while we wait for safe access to outdoor venues once again.