: Dylan VanWheelden

Take Care Out There

Oregon invites you to prepare, care and connect.
February 6, 2020 (Updated July 2, 2021)

Welcome to Oregon. There’s a lot to love here, and we hope you find a meaningful connection to this place too. Oregon is here for everyone to enjoy for generations to come — that’s why we’re counting on you to explore responsibly.

As you journey through the state, we ask that you please take care out there. Make the most of your time here by understanding how to prepare, care and connect in Oregon.

Prepare before you go: Do your research to know current guidelines and local recommendations.

Care while you’re here: Respect your surroundings to ensure a safe, fun experience for all.

Connect with people and places: Gain a sense of gratitude by getting to know the deeper stories.

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Prepare before you go

Make an informed plan

There isn’t a single amazing thing about Oregon – there are about ten zillion. So, doing your research is key. Keep these tips in mind when preparing for a trip:

  • Explore nearby places. Visiting a distant destination can overwhelm local resources and makes you less prepared for the unexpected. Avoid peak hours at popular sites, which oftentimes means arriving early or on a weekday.
  • Learn your destination’s protocols. Guidelines vary place to place, and many locations require a reservation ahead of time. Check the website of your destination or call ahead to know what to expect and how to be ready.
  • Make a backup plan. If your destination is closed or capacity is reached, know where else to go. Let someone know of your plans and consider taking public transit or a shuttle so you don’t have to worry about parking. Bonus points if you join a guided tour with a local expert.

Pack everything you need

Because you can surf and ski in the same day in Oregon, one set of gear doesn’t always cover it all. Bring everything needed for your trip, which now includes face coverings and sanitizer, and a bag to take trash home. When venturing into Oregon’s outdoors, carry the Ten Essentials, maps in case of spotty phone coverage, gas, and money for park fees (or consider purchasing your pass in advance).

Check conditions before leaving

Oregon weather can be surprising – from sunshine to rain showers in minutes – but you don’t have to let it catch you off-guard. Check the weather report ahead of leaving home and remember to dress in layers like a true Oregonian. Before hitting the road, be sure to look up conditions at TripCheck.com, where you’ll find details about road closures and traffic cameras (and avoid any surprises).

A kayaker paddles behind a stand-up paddleboarder on the Willamette River.
Stay aware of your surroundings — you're not the only one trying to have a good experience in Oregon. (Willamette River by Joey Hamilton Photography)

Care while you’re there

Be mindful of your surroundings

Ready to explore Oregon’s vibrant cultures and landscapes? You’re not alone. By being mindful of your surroundings, you’ll ensure everyone else has a good experience, too. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Know your limits. Choose activities within your skill level and know when to stop for the day. Risky behavior puts strain on local health and rescue resources that are needed for emergencies. Instead, consider hiring a licensed guide who can help you adventure safely.
  • Follow posted signs. Protect the state’s beauty by staying in designated areas except when you briefly need to give others more room to maintain physical distancing. (Hikers coming uphill have the right of way.) Observe wildlife from afar so they are not disturbed or feel threatened. Follow the posted signs – they’re there for a reason and you might learn something new.

Leave no trace

There’s a lot to love about Oregon – and we want to keep it that way. Consider the impact of your visit and show respect for public lands and communities by packing out what you pack in, including take-out containers, disposable gloves and face coverings. When nature calls, have a plan for humans and pets, even if that means packing out your waste and tissue. Leaving no trace lessens the impact on resources and ensures Oregon is beautiful for generations to come.

Make wildfire prevention a priority

Oregon is a paradise of lush forests, which climb high to snowy peaks and descend to the shores of the Pacific and the edges of the high desert. But all of this beauty comes with the risk of wildfires. Prevent human-caused wildfires by understanding current fire restrictions and building and extinguishing campfires properly. When wildfires do occur, stay updated on current conditions and closures to ensure the safety of you and first responders.

Four cyclists rest in lawn chairs in front of a vineyard with wine glasses in their hands.
Make sure your trip includes ways to support Oregon communities — shop, eat, drink and stay local. (Harris Bridge Vineyard by Joey Hamilton Photography)

Connect with people and places

Take your time to learn

Let yourself be inspired by Oregon’s diverse landscapes and cultures. Take the pace slow to appreciate each moment and learn about Oregon’s history and peoples’ special relationship to this place. As you travel these lands, pay tribute to the heritage of Indigenous communities, today comprising nine federally recognized tribes. From there, you’ll discover a history interwoven with homesteaders and migrants who brought their customs from around the world to Oregon.

Be welcoming and respectful

Wherever you go, say a friendly word to everybody you meet. Oregon is home to diverse cultures and identities who have faced unique triumphs and challenges throughout the state’s history. Your experiences may vary differently than others and a welcoming and respectful attitude can help build a stronger, more unified community.  During COVID-19, be patient and understanding with others as recent events have impacted people’s well-being. Don’t take offense if a person’s smile isn’t visible behind a face covering.

Show your appreciation

Express gratitude to frontline workers and park rangers who are doing extra right now – a “thank you” goes a long way. Support local businesses — eat, drink, shop and stay locally – and ensure that our treasured communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by spending money at local businesses. The tourism industry plays a big part in local economies, and after a year of reduced visitation, your dollar will surely an impact.

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