We have never faced a global crisis like COVID-19 but the outdoors and our community has the power to ride it out, stay grounded, and find hope.
As I write this letter on March 19, 2020, I have no idea what the world and our society will look like when this magazine is in your hands or when the planet finally shakes the deadly novel coronavirus. In that way, I am just like you, just like everyone across the globe. We have never faced a crisis like like this that is affecting everyone everywhere at the same time. I hope that we can see our way through it for the sake of our collective health and well being. One thing I do know is that no matter what state our society is in when the pandemic has passed, the power of the outdoors will be there to help heal and bring us back.
This magazine celebrates all the good and joyous things we find when we head into the outdoors. We have embraced solitary meditation, the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado, and the Japanese concept of shinrin yoku, or forest bathing, simply getting into the woods to take in the healing property of trees. We also advocate for conservation, for public lands, for climate change action, for disabled athletes, for people of diverse backgrounds to find the same solace we do in these unfettered spaces. And we promote thriving, sustainable business. Gear, brewpubs, restaurants, travel operators, guides, rock gyms, festivals—all of these represent a community of people who have found a way to make a living doing what they love and standing up for those same basic benefits and causes we champion in the outdoors. I worry about how this outdoor economy will survive after the ravages of the coronavirus crisis—because it must survive to speak up for and defend the outdoors. We want to keep proving that clean, responsible industries and caring people can build a world that benefits all and endures.
Now is not yet the time to head out to our favorite mountain towns and pump up these economies, or even to just get away and set up camp the way we like to encourage our readers to do. Mountain towns are extremely vulnerable to the virus. They don’t have the medical infrastructure to handle the potential crush of critical patients. But that does not mean we cannot get out and enjoy our nearby trails and parks with loved ones and pets, as long as we are still practicing safe social distancing to slow down the spread of the disease. But when the world is safe again, we have an imperative to get back outside and to rebuild by bringing business back into these mountain towns, by visiting the coffee shops and dropping into the whitewater parks and hula hooping at the festivals. It may sound insignificant but it will be vital.
We at EO see ourselves as a community. To that end, we have been mailing magazines for free to our readers, we have been continuing to give our writers and photographers work, and we have been partnering with advertisers who support us. We think we can rise up and continue to build a world where people find enough harmony with the planet to pass on what we love about the outdoors to future generations.