The Winter Woodsman and the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, as well as the northern Quebec snowshoe trip with the Cree have been cancelled for 2022 due to Covid.
Part of our job is to always keep an eye on the safety of the group and the individuals in it. It is impossible to socially distance in a winter camp setting, as people are gathered into small heated spaces that are not well ventilated. If the virus were to make a wish list regarding what it would like in order to infect more people easily, a winter camp setting would be very high on the list. In years past I’ve seen colds and the flu tear through a winter camp where almost everyone gets it, and fast. If we were able to ensure that no one was carrying the virus when we started, a winter camp would be an ideal place as we would be secluded from outside contact. But there is no way for us to know this for sure.
I’ve been watching the news and trying to figure out where the virus is headed with regard to safely running winter programs this year, but at this point I don’t know. Maybe it burns through like it has been lately and is nearly gone in a few weeks. Maybe not. Maybe no one would get sick, but that is not a chance I want to take with anyone’s health and safety. Last winter I spent twelve days in the hospital with covid, as well as a few months recovering, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. While the field school is an ideal social distancing venue when we’re all in our own tents, that isn’t an option in the bitter cold. So because we can’t do it safely, I’m opting to not do it this year. I’ll be refunding 100% of deposits and tuition.
We will be back in the spring and have a full slate of programs beginning in early April and running through early November. And with a bit of luck, a robust series of winter programs in 2023.