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Get Outside and Get Vaxxed at a State Park This Weekend

Clinics in Colorado and beyond are offering hikers the chance to get their Covid jab—plus free entry to parks, fishing and hunting licenses, and more.

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A few things you can do at a state park: take a hike, watch wildlife, camp. And, this weekend, get a Covid vaccine.

On Labor Day, people in the Denver metro area who still haven’t gotten their jab will be able to get vaccinated at Colorado’s Barr Lake State Park, where the state will be serving patients through its mobile Covid-19 vaccine bus. Anyone who gets the jab will also receive a $50 gift certificate, which they can spend on anything from park admission to fishing and hunting licenses. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and visitors won’t need a park pass to get vaccinated.

Colorado isn’t the only state that’s trying to boost vaccination rates with the help of the great outdoors. South Carolina will run a similar program on Labor Day at Dreher Island State Park, offering free entry for anyone who gets vaccinated; all three brands of vaccine will be available, allowing visitors the choice to get fully vaccinated in one visit.  New Jersey gave more than 100,000 people free entry into its state parks for the rest of 2021 as a reward for getting vaccinated in a program that lasted through July 4. Maryland ran its own vaccine clinic at Sandy Point State Park last month; while visitors had to pay an entry fee, anyone who returned to the park for their second shot would get in free

“Sandy Point is a gathering place for many Marylanders and through this partnership with DNR, we are bringing more vaccinations directly to the community,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. Also on the list: New York, which ran free vaccines at 15 of its state parks earlier this year, and the National Park Service, which vaccinated visitors at Mesa Verde National Park.

The United States is currently in the midst of its biggest surge of Covid cases since winter, with an average of 164,326 cases per day diagnosed over the past week. Colorado’s vaccination rate is above average, with 57% of eligible people fully vaccinated—the 14th-highest rate in the country.