If you’re thinking that right now is the perfect time to bag some peaks and get that Four Thousand Footer patch, AMC committee member Steve Smith says think again.
“The mantra has been ‘Stay Low and Local,’” Smith says, “but we felt that enough people weren’t listening to that. And we decided that we needed to take a step further, and just say that we would not count the peaks for anybody that’s working on a list as sort of a disincentive.”
Smith’s committee oversees the New Hampshire Four Thousand Footers, the New England Four Thousand Footers and the New England Hundred Highest and says the restriction applies to each list.
One obvious concern, he says, is people traveling from outside an area bringing the virus along with them.
“The other issue is if they get hurt, and nobody thinks they’re going to get hurt, but it does happen,” he says. “If search and rescue goes out, then they are exposed to the virus.”
Not only that, but many search and rescue personnel are medically trained and are currently working to fight the pandemic.
“If they go out on a rescue, and you know, if you’re carrying a litter there’s no way you can social distance. I mean you’re like a foot apart and breathing heavily,” Smith says. “And so if they catch the virus on a search-and-rescue mission, then it could put them out of commission from where they’re needed.”
Smith says the restrictions will be rescinded when the stay-at-home orders are lifted.
“New Hampshire is May 4th, Vermont is May 15th, Maine is May 1st and Massachusetts is May 4th, I believe,” Smith says.
“And so this will stay in place until they are lifted and if they’re extended into June, then we will extend this policy into June.”