Global Rescue memberships just got better. A Global Rescue membership now includes field rescue services within 100 miles of your home. Now Global Rescue is there for you whether you’re hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling, fishing, or simply enjoying the outdoors and you get ill or injured and you’re unable to get to safety on your own.

Anatomy of Change

The pandemic curtailed travel and prompted health and political officials to implement safety guidelines urging people to physically distance, wear masks and stay at home whenever possible. But when cabin-fever sets in the CDC recommends heading out to the wide-open spaces for physical activity, a break from staying at home, and overall health and wellness.

COVID-19 opened the door for people to explore and appreciate the great outdoors nearby, and people flooded through the doorway.

State park officials in the U.S. reported huge jumps in campsite reservations. The Outdoor Industry Association announced significant increases in people running, bicycling, day hiking and bird watching. Outdoor gear manufacturers recorded skyrocketing sales.

Driven by its cooler and equipment business, Yeti’s direct-to-consumer third quarter 2020 sales jumped 62% compared to the same period in 2019. “Thousands of lockdown-weary Americans snapped up new two-wheelers,” reported a Bloomberg article. In fact, bike sales in the spring of 2020 were more than double a year earlier, and cycling shops report long waits and inventory shortages.

In Canada, the pandemic-driven trend for outdoor local activity was in full swing. In the province of Nova Scotia officials reported there were more than 247,000 visitors at camping parks and more than one million at day-use parks. The 2019 season totaled less than a quarter million visitors. The deluge of visitors was overwhelmingly local. Due to COVID-19 restrictions about 96% of campers were from Nova Scotia, compared to 60% the year before.

Fishing licenses in Louisiana nearly doubled and Idaho’s new hunters and anglers increased by 30% compared to the preceding year, according to a recent report. The looming winter season won’t be a deterrent to fishing, however. “All needles are pointing to people wanting to get outside and do stuff this winter,” said Henry Drewes, a regional fisheries manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who is based in Bemidji. “And one of those things will be ice fishing.”

Avid skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers who saw the on-piste ski season clipped in March are now facing limited access to ski resorts and an uncertain upcoming season. They are turning to “human-powered ways of getting their turns in on the mountain,” according to a recent news report. “That prompted sales for backcountry equipment to skyrocket with local shops seeing a new wave of people wanting to get their hands-on gear.”

Recreation Without Walls

With gyms closed, hot yoga studios shuttered and travel restricted, people found local opportunities outside to continue their love for physical activity. Others found new ways to stay active and socialize safely while restaurants and coffee shops were closed. Whatever the motivation, people turned to cycling, hiking, climbing, fishing, camping and a host of other ways to enjoy recreation without walls.

And they did it closer to home. According to Leave No Trace, a nonprofit organization promoting outdoor conservation, before COVID-19 most people went far and wide to participate in outside recreation. That has changed since the pandemic. “People are now staying significantly closer to home with half (49.9%) remaining within two miles of their home,” according to a Leave No Trace study.

What mattered most to people was that they could stay active, get outside, and remain relatively close to home. No border crossing needed, and in some cases no crossing of provinces, states or even counties. Also, no need to use public transportation, the railways, or airways if possible.

All these factors compelled individuals who were looking to breathe fresh air, break their cabin fever, and get their heart rates up without violating pandemic precautions to venture beyond home thresholds in search of a virus-safe outing.

But with an increase in local, outdoor activities there is a parallel expectation of the need for rescue services. “Owing to the pandemic, outdoor recreation skyrocketed this summer, and that trend is projected to continue into the winter. As a result, backcountry first responders are preparing for a potential rise in rescues, especially given the forecast for a particularly snowy winter in the Northwest,” according to a report.

In Vermont, officials are aligned. Rescue operations across the Green Mountain state have been scaling up since the pandemic began.

“Search and rescue teams are definitely responding to more incidents,” said Neil Van Dyke, the search and rescue coordinator at the Vermont Department of Public Safety, who added that they are getting more rescue calls this year than in its 40-year history.

Global Rescue’s Response

It all contributed to a bold and timely decision by Global Rescue to make a simple but ground-breaking decision to expand it rescue protection services to include Local Field Service.

Since its founding, Global Rescue has required members to be 100+ miles away from home to access rescue protection. But the pandemic has increased our time outdoors, and Global Rescue recognized an opportunity to provide expanded services to members – at no additional cost – by eliminating the 100-mile rule.

Global Rescue is the first and only travel risk and crisis management company to make this high-value change. Now when you’re out and about and get ill or injured and you’re unable to get to safety on your own, your Global Rescue membership protections stay with you whether you are near home or abroad.