No longer, it seems, do many Minnesotans need prodding through clever social media campaigns, special freebies and proclamations to “get outdoors.”

Look around. Experience (and data) say there are more Minnesotans heading outdoors and filling more public spaces such as parks and trails than ever, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some recreation managers back that up, too, witnessing a crush more akin to what they usually see in summer. Popular parks and trails close to the metro, and across Minnesota, are especially jammed on weekends — and the Memorial Day holiday is dead ahead.

Based on cellphone tracking data, research at the University of Maryland (and reported by the New York Times) shows that more people, Minnesotans included, are heading outside and doing it more frequently as the weather warms and states ease into reopening. A Star Tribune analysis of Minnesota data this week backs up the mass movement trend. Trips away from home are predominantly to parks. Expect the migration outside and the heavy traffic to increase — a restlessness manifest of what the Maryland researchers call “quarantine fatigue.”

Getting outdoors to find refuge — and something to do — has baggage now: More concern about keeping a safe distance from other walkers, runners, cyclists — everyone. The current message from officials is more nuanced these days: Go, and do it safely.

It didn’t take a pandemic for regular trail users to debate proper manners, rights of way and common decency. Now, with experienced outdoors people and newcomers converging, busy public areas from sidewalks to state trails are testing what constitutes proper behavior. Using a bit of common sense can do wonders.

Check out the full article from the Star Tribune here.