Outside with Chris - The Coronavirus and the Outdoors


Chris Erwin

The Ashland Beacon


   One day the world is rolling along as usual. Then, all of a sudden, in a matter of a few short weeks, nothing is as it was. The stock market is dropping like dead flies, and all you can hear is that things are getting worse.

   Like a house on fire, everyone around you is trying to save something, and your freedoms are becoming limited as we scramble to slow down this pandemic. Visiting your favorite eatery or having a few adult drinks at a bar is off-limits. We must stay home to contain the spread of this vicious virus.

   How bad this whole thing is going to be in the weeks to come is hard to know. However, we must find ways to practice social distancing, a phrase that wasn’t even in our vocabulary just a few weeks ago.

   I am one of the people that fall into the high-risk categories, with old pre-existing conditions, and a former bout with cancer. With all that said, the outdoors is still a place where I can enjoy what I love the most.

   New York’s Gov. Cuomo said it best when he explained that you can still visit your state parks; you can always go hiking or fishing. Ride a four-wheeler. Sit around a campfire with your family. If you have been thinking about doing any of those things but just didn’t have the time... well, now just might be the time.

   Slowing down and reconnecting with your small immediate family may be a new experience, but we all may grow from it. I’ve always felt that campfires were a magical place where memories are born and last a lifetime. At a time when the world is spinning out of control, a campfire with your family can be a minute frozen in time that will forever be remembered.

   The great thing about the outdoors is you don’t need to be in a big group to have a good time. Many times it’s when you are all alone that you discover something you didn’t know about yourself.

   Social distancing has been defined as staying at least three to six feet from anyone else. That’s not a problem in the outdoors. In the days to come, isolation may be hard to cope with for long periods, but the outdoors can break the stagnation while you enjoy the spring, and everything around you begins to start over. The beauty of spring is the birth of new life. Nothing I can think of could be better to witness at a time when the world is fighting against an unseen enemy that strikes a silent blow in the closeness we all crave.

   Who could have thought a few months ago that a walk in the woods or day on the creek bank could be the medicine we need to cope with the new reality that sickness is lurking in the crowded places that we all have been a million times.

   They are 46 state parks in Kentucky, all of them offer places where you can be alone or just with your family. The book I wrote in 2014, Camping Kentucky, documented 101 public campgrounds in Kentucky.

   I pray for our community every day as we walk this new ground, hoping the number of deaths are low and we overcome this new enemy. The one thing we can do is enjoy what God has given us in his creation of the great outdoors. May God be with us during this trying time.

   Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News, an online magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.