Long Lake Conservation Center COVID-19 Plan and Updates

Update March 11, 2020 5:00pm


We are aware of the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the concerns that may arise in planning your Long Lake adventure. Our staff will continually monitor and search out guidance and direction from experts from Aitkin County Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with respect to illness and infectious diseases. Communication with our staff, students, and families is critical, and we are committed to continued communication with our stakeholders. For now, it is business as usual at Long Lake Conservation Center! Our maintenance staff will continue to: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (door handles, faucets, railings,desks, tables, countertops, sinks), bathrooms, and health rooms. Use a disinfectant labeled “EPA-Approved” to clean all high touch surfaces. Staff is trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills. Our education staff will make minor adaptations to programs for participant health and safety, we will: Continue to monitor and encourage frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing before and after meals and programs. Disinfect all equipment after each individual use i.e. canoes, compasses, bows, etc. Refrain from passing artifacts for observation including animal pelts, track casts, bones, skulls, etc. We will have these artifacts available to observe visually. Additionally, we will refrain from petting the snakes during Snakes Alive. As a global community, we are learning more each day about COVID-19. Long Lake Conservation Center, under the governance of Aitkin County, is actively planning and implementing best practices and procedures for participant health and safety. Our current objectives in light of COVID-19 are to: Communicate openly and transparently with all stakeholders. Analyze operations with health professionals and make recommended changes. Currently under review are our Dining Hall/food serving procedures. We will inform stakeholders of any procedural changes. Follow CDC recommendations; especially to encourage employees, volunteers, and participants to refrain from attending Long Lake Conservation Center if sick. Remember - the same precautions to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against COVID-19. Long Lake recommends that schools continue education about good hygiene. Students, staff, and volunteers should be reminded to: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if unable to wash, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not with your hands) Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick We remind parents, guardians, staff, and students, that they should refrain from attending school, work, and the Long Lake field study when they are sick. Lastly, we invite stakeholders to openly communicate with Long Lake staff. Please let us know if you/your organization have questions/concerns or need more information from Long Lake to disseminate to your communities as a trip to Long Lake approaches. Thank you for your help in keeping your students, parents, and staff, as well as Long Lake staff, healthy and safe. For more, visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update March 16, 2020 2:00pm


Things have certainly been changing quickly with the response to COVID-19 and information/guidance being received from the State and Federal agencies. At this time, Long Lake Conservation Center remains open. Our staff are on site to communicate with you about cancellations, postponing trips, and any other needs. We are working with our governance at Aitkin County to determine what the next few weeks will hold. As we all are learning more each day, we encourage our customers and guests to communicate with us about your group’s plans and needs. In light of the circumstances, we will be waiving all cancellation fees through May 15 (subject to change or extend as we learn more). Long Lake will continue to update and communicate with our customers. Please communicate any needs or questions with us at info@longlakecc.org. Updates and plans from Long Lake Conservation Center will be announced here. Summer Camp registration remains open for 2020 camps! We are planning for a happy, healthy summer! The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update March 17, 2020 12:00pm


In light of COVID-19 and Minnesota State Executive Orders, Long Lake Conservation Center has cancelled all groups and retreats through March 27, 2020. At this time, we are working with customers to reschedule planned trips. Please contact Long Lake with any questions or concerns or to communicate the need to cancel planned trips beyond March 27, 2020. Thank you, The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update March 26, 2020 10:00am


Following MN Executive Order 20-20, our facilities and buildings are closed effective March, 19 2020-April 10, 2020 (end date subject to change) to public visitors and guests. All school trips scheduled for April are canceled. We will be in touch with all schools individually to plan future adventures and provide the opportunity of a Long Lake trip when safe and healthy for all students who are not able to attend this year. Our office remains open for phone and email communication. Long Lake Conservation Center hiking trails remain open for public use. Please practice safety recommendations to limit the spread of COVI-19, and maintain social distancing with other public users. Also, please be aware that all bathroom facilities are closed. Take care, The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update March 19, 2020 12:00pm


The Aitkin County Board of Commissioners voted to temporarily close the public interface at Long Lake Conservation Center. Our facilities and buildings are closed effective March, 19 2020-April 6, 2020 (end date subject to change) to public visitors and guests. Our office remains open for phone and email communication. Long Lake Conservation Center hiking trails remain open for public use. Please practice safety recommendations to limit the spread of COVI-19, and maintain social distancing with other public users. Also, please be aware that all bathroom facilities are closed. Take care, The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update April 7, 2020 12:30pm


Following MN Executive Order 20-20, our facilities and buildings are closed effective March, 19 2020-April 10, 2020 (end date subject to change) to public visitors and guests. All school trips scheduled for April and May and June are canceled. We will be in touch with all schools individually to plan future adventures and provide the opportunity of a Long Lake trip when safe and healthy for all students who are not able to attend this year. At this time, we are accepting summer camp registrations. If camps are canceled due to COVID, families will receive full refunds. Our office remains open for phone and email communication. Long Lake Conservation Center hiking trails remain open for public use. Please practice safety recommendations to limit the spread of COVI-19, and maintain social distancing with other public users. Also, please be aware that all bathroom facilities are closed. Take care, The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update April 20, 2020 3:00pm


All school trips scheduled for April and May and June are canceled. We will be in touch with all schools individually to plan future adventures and provide the opportunity of a Long Lake trip when safe and healthy for all students who are not able to attend this year. At this time, we are accepting summer camp registrations. If camps are canceled due to COVID, families will receive full refunds. Our office remains open for phone and email communication. Under Executive Order 20-38, Minnesotans may go outdoors and engage in activities such as walking, running, fishing, and hunting, as long as they are maintaining an appropriate social distance from other households. To provide additional clarity, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have developed Outdoor Recreation and COVID-19 Guidelines for Facilities and the Public. Take care, The Long Lake Management Team Courtney Dowell and Wendie Bright




Update May 15, 2020 10:00am


It is with heavy hearts and care for you all that we share this message. After a month of research and deliberation, the Long Lake Conservation Center Leadership Team has decided to cancel all 2020 Summer Youth Overnight Camps. Like many of you, our summer doesn’t feel complete without camp! We never envisioned this scenario. This difficult decision was made in collaboration with our local health authorities, Long Lake and Aitkin County staff, and multiple camp partners/sponsors. Our goal for summer camp is and will continue to be, to provide a safe, fun, and equitable environment for campers to explore, conserve, learn about, and appreciate nature. The Long Lake Leadership Team feels camp cancellation is the best way to ensure camper and camp staff safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer camp at Long Lake Conservation Center is an interpersonal, close-knit, connected experience. It is all about sharing, growing, and coming together. We do not feel a socially distanced camp is the best scenario for our campers. The COVID-19 pandemic presents all of us with challenges and unknowns. We are making this a firm and final decision to provide our campers and families with a concrete answer to summer camp status at Long Lake Conservation Center. All camp registration payments or deposits will be refunded in full. Cancellations will automatically be processed and refunds issued within 7-10 business days. We understand that this news may cause sadness; we are sad, too. We are here to listen to campers and their families. Please, reach out with the need to talk or ask questions. We encourage campers and families to find ways to act like a Long Lake camper this summer:
Explore outdoors! Wake up for an Early Bird Adventure! Make a discovery! Play games! Help a friend! Practice conservation! Volunteer for at home Kitchen Patrol! Learn a new skill! Sing a campfire song! Share a story! Make a lifelong memory! Appreciate nature wherever you may be! While this will be the first (and hopefully only) summer since Long Lake Conservation Center’s founding in 1963 that we will not hold summer camp, we will continue to encourage campers, families, and all Long Lake learners to explore, conserve, learn about, and appreciate nature: Long Lake Naturalists spent the last month creating Long Lake View- a virtual, nature-based distance learning platform! Here you will find classes (called adventures) and mini-lessons dubbed #LongLakeLearning to promote hands-on learning in nature, at home. As the flagship of the Aitkin County Parks and Trails system, Long Lake hiking trails remain open for nature exploration. Safe social distancing is requested. For more info on public recreation call 218-768-4653 or visit www.longlakecc.org/trails Campers and families, thank you for your support and enthusiasm for Long Lake Conservation Center! We can’t even describe what you mean to us and how much we will miss you this summer. We will venture through this summer with goals of improving camp, updating Long Lake facilities, and planning for a bright and healthy future. We wish you all good health and safety, The Long Lake Leadership Team Courtney Dowell, Education Manager Wendie Bright, Business Manager Rich Courtemanche, Aitkin County Land Commissioner




Update August 1, 2020 9:00am


Long Lake Conservation Center facilities are currently closed. Hiking trails remain open to the public for exploration. When exploring at Long Lake, please follow social distancing guidelines and responsible stewardship of our nature. At this time, Long Lake Conservation Center staff are working on operational plans for the Center. When plans are established, we will be communicating with Long Lake guests who have reservations to communicate the Long Lake COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and any impacts on planned/reserved programming. If you are a school teacher, trip coordinator, or guest with a reservation please feel free to communicate with us directly regarding your trip to Long Lake. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, we are waiving all cancelation fees. If you need to cancel for any reason, please let us know! The Long Lake staff will work with you to postpone your trip or place you on the communications list for future scheduling. ​218.768.4653 info@longlakecc.org We wish you all good health and safety, The Long Lake Leadership Team Courtney Dowell, Education Manager Rich Courtemanche, Aitkin County Land Commissioner




September 9, 2020 1:00 pm


Due to COVID-19 We are in TORPOR Torpor is a survival strategy used by animals in the winter. Unlike true hibernation, torpor allows animals, like bears, to conserve energy yet stay alert enough to access resources when needed, evade danger, and make quick decisions. As always, we at Long Lake CC are learning from the best teacher; nature. This next school year, Long Lake Conservation Center will be in torpor. All programs and trips have been postponed from September 2020-June 2021. We will practice conservation, work to acquire resources and knowledge, as well as, stay alert, and able to make decisions. Please communicate any needs or questions with us. We will be sure to contact all of our trip/program coordinators when we are ready and able to awake into a new, healthy season. In the meantime: Our nonprofit partner is active in acquiring and allocating resources to continue our mission. Our trails and grounds remain open for exploration as part of the Aitkin County Parks System. The distance learning platform, Long Lake View remains available to teachers, learners, and families. The Long Lake CC office is operating on reduced hours. Please be patient with response times. Communicate with Long Lake CC via phone or email: ​218.768.4653 info@longlakecc.org We wish you all good health and safety, The Long Lake Leadership Team Courtney Dowell, Education Manager Rich Courtemanche, Aitkin County Land Commissioner