King County Parks will reopen regional trails and many parks tomorrow (Friday), the department’s first significant openings since closing all parks in late March.
The county’s network of regional trails had been closed to recreation, though essential workers and people making essential trips were allowed to use them for transportation. Now they will reopen for recreation use, though users must follow social distancing protocols and be sure to avoid crowding. Restrooms will remain closed.
The news follows Washington State’s decision to reopen many parks, trails and other public lands to daytime recreation.
Seattle never closed its trail network, instead making an effort to create more open space for walking and biking in neighborhoods through its Stay Healthy Streets program. It has been a bit confusing to have city trails open and county trails closed since many users are not aware which agency maintains which trails. Hopefully the outbreak numbers don’t surge again and prompt more park and trail closures.
Here are King County Parks’ tips for using parks and trails safely:
- Keep your distance – Recreate with those in your household. Give others plenty of room and communicate who will step aside on the trail (trail etiquette gives hikers coming uphill the right of way).
- Stay local– Don’t stray too far from home when recreating. Keep rural communities safe by minimizing stops and bringing all that you’ll need for your outing.
- Keep it moving– Use parks and trails for walking, running, riding, rolling, and passing through.
- Plan ahead – And be prepared to go somewhere else if your destination seems crowded. Add hand sanitizer and a face covering to your 10 Essentials.
- Play it safe – Keep your activities within your comfort and skill level to reduce the risk of injury and adding to the strain on our health care and emergency services.
- Leave no trace – Take any garbage with you, including disposable face masks and gloves.