Metro Parks expands closures to playgrounds and sport courts
Closures also apply to picnic shelters, skate parks and restrooms
While parks and natural areas remain open to the public, Metro Parks Tacoma is expanding its list of facility closures as part of the state and community effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
· Effective immediately, 51 playgrounds, 48 sport courts, 27 picnic shelters and 8 skate parks are considered closed to the public. Signage will be posted.
· Parking lot gates will be locked at parks that have them, including Chinese Reconciliation Park, Brown’s Point, Stewart Heights, and Tacoma Nature Center, among others. This also means the gates to Point Defiance Park will be locked, including the Pearl and Mildred street entrances. This means Five Mile Drive is closed to motor vehicles.
· A closure of the park district’s 31 public restrooms is also in effect.
Parks remain open for visitors to walk, cycle and enjoy nature. However, Metro Parks is taking these additional actions to support Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent orders to discourage groups from gathering, as well as to address the workload the park district can accommodate with diminished staffing levels. As the Governor said in his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, people are encouraged to take care of themselves by visiting local parks.
Most of these closed amenities are out in the open and cannot be fully secured or locked. Metro Parks is asking the public to honor this closure notice as part of the community’s collective response and individual responsibility to keep everyone safe.
Per the Governor’s orders, park visitors are asked to use open spaces and trails responsibly: practice social distancing (6 feet from anyone), bring hand sanitizer, and take all belongings and trash home. In other words, “pack it in, pack it out.”
– Metro Parks
DNR Closing Public Lands to Recreation Activities
OLYMPIA – The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced the closure of all DNR-managed lands to the public. The closure went into effect March 26 and will last through at least April 8.
This step is a continuation of the agency’s efforts to protect people by stemming the spread of the coronavirus. The agency, along with the State Department of Parks and Recreation and State Department of Fish and Wildlife, had already closed all campgrounds across the state through April 30.
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads DNR, issued the following statement:
“This was not an easy decision. We treasure our forests and trails and beaches as places of rejuvenation and refuge from the chaos of daily life. But, I cannot ignore the unfortunate reality of what we saw this weekend: crowded trails, people shoulder to shoulder, and large gatherings. This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making in order to adhere to social distancing. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting epidemic.
“This behavior also makes clear that, while we have taken drastic measures, we have not done enough when it comes to closing areas where large crowds gather and communicating the importance of staying at home and avoiding physical contact with others.
“The disruptions we are experiencing are difficult and challenging – and unprecedented in our lifetimes. But they are necessary. We must bend the curve. And if we all do our part, these temporary disruptions will save countless lives.”
You can find more frequently asked questions here: www.dnr.wa.gov/closure
About DNR Recreation: Led by the Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR manages 1,200 miles of trails and 160-plus recreation sites in 3 million acres of working forest state trust lands and 92 natural areas. DNR trust lands keep forests development-free, provide clean water, and generate revenue for public services and school construction.
– Department of Natural Resources
State Parks offers fun (and educational) at-home activities for junior rangers
OLYMPIA – March 25, 2020 – Now that Gov. Inslee has issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to help combat the spread of COVID-19, many parents or guardians are wondering how to keep their young ones busy and engaged.
Washington State Parks wants to help. Parks staff have created a variety of activity sheets for children ages 4 and older to help them (and their families) discover the wonders of nature through fun exploration, games and creative activities.
More than a dozen activity sheets are on the agency’s Junior Ranger webpage, including an introduction to the Junior Ranger Program and activities to understand wacky weather and rain, explore constellations, craft a critter, learn about early explorers and more.
Once a child completes all the age-appropriate activity sheets, families can print off a certificate and have their very own ceremony celebrating their new Junior Ranger.
Some of the activities can be done inside the home; others can be done by exploring nature in one’s backyard, if that option is available.
– Washington State Parks