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Some trails, closed amid statewide parks shutdown, will reopen for day use Tuesday

Washington State is preparing to ease a few restrictions for the first time since the outbreak began, and reopening day use of many parks and trails are at the top of the list. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), major statewide trails like the Palouse to Cascades Trail (AKA the Iron Horse Trail AKA John Wayne Pioneer Trail) will open during the daytime, though some trailheads (including the popular Cedar Falls Trailhead near Rattlesnake Lake) remain closed.

Recreational lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources will also reopen for day use Tuesday. You can find updated information on what’s open and closed via the state’s COVID-19 response website.

Washington's four-phase plan for reopening. PDF version linked in caption.
From Governor Jay Inslee’s Office (PDF).

Camping remains prohibited during Phase 1 of Governor Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan to relax restrictions, though it is listed as part of Phase 2. Many major trailheads and popular parks will also remain closed, as will many restrooms.


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Of course, people need to keep following social distancing and hygiene practices to prevent the outbreak numbers from surging again, setting us all back and delaying progress. The selfish whiny babies gathering together to protest the state’s restrictions by … purposefully spreading the virus? … may very well send us all backwards in our reopening process if those gatherings create a surge in the number of cases.

If you do go out and use parks and trails, you have to maintain social distancing practices, of course. That means being prepared to let your plans fall apart if you get somewhere and it is too crowded. In general, it is still probably best to stay near your home, perhaps by utilizing one of the city’s Stay Healthy Streets.

King County Parks remain closed, including county-operated trails (though essential workers and people making essential trips can still use them for transportation). However, King County Parks does note on its website that they are “working through a phased-in reopening scenario for its parks, trails and other facilities, likely starting with natural lands and regional trails.” So stay tuned.

Biking Bis has a good post about which trails are reopening and some distancing best practices from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, so definitely check that out for more info.


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