Amidst Park Closures, County, City Sign Agreement

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Open spaces and fresh air are a great source of sanity in trying times (as long as you keep your social distancing). :)

Yet, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department recently announced that they will cancel all reservations state park stays from April 3 to and including May 8 and then review the state park campground closure to decide whether it should be extended. The decision affects all individual and group overnight facilities: campsites, yurts, cabins, tepees, and services operated by concessionaires, as well as any reservations for group day-use areas.

Fortunately, here locally, Clark County Public Works and Vancouver Parks and Recreation announced they had joined together to sign an agreement with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to provide health and safety guidelines for park users during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The agreement was signed by Clark County Parks and Lands Manager Galina Burley and Vancouver Parks and Recreation Director Julie Hannon with the City of Vancouver, to provide members of the community with recommended best practices when using park facilities. It also commits to keeping parks and recreation spaces open as long as possible under guidance and recommendations of public health officials.

“We are so proud to be able to provide a space for members of our community to recreate in a safe way,” said Burley. “While we want people to continue to be able to enjoy their outdoor spaces, we also need to make sure people are following social-distancing guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. We are grateful to the City of Vancouver for their support and partnership in this initiative.”

“This is a challenging time both physically and mentally,” said Hannon. “Our parks are vital resources to our communities, especially during this time. I encourage people to take advantage of the free public space our parks provide in a responsible way, following the recommendations outlined by the National Recreation and Park Association statement.”

NRPA recommends the following guidelines for social distancing in public parks and trails:

– Do not use parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms
– Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting parks or trails
– Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times
– Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains
– Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence as you pass
– Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other persons at all times
– If these recommendations are not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart the space

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