The Cleveland Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park have offered a lifeline for cooped-up northeast Ohioans, providing outdoor space for exercise and fresh air. And blossom time has started, when Cleveland spring is at its most beautiful. But both have warned that they will have to limit access if people continue to gather in groups and not practice social distancing. In fact, they have already taken some steps in that direction.
“As your park system, we want to continue to be an important outlet for you and your families during this time,” says Cleveland Metroparks. “And we want to make sure that everyone is using the parks in a safe manner. It is critically important that everyone practices social distancing at all times while in the parks. That includes providing other guests with proper space of at least six feet. Please don’t forget to share the trail and warn others as you pass.”
Unfortunately, some were not heeding the advice, and on April 1, the Metroparks announced some new measures to encourage social distancing, closing several roads to drivers to offer more space for bicyclists, runners and stroller.
“Cleveland Metroparks has experienced a surge of park visitors over the past several weeks,” says Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman on the Metroparks website. “We want to keep our parks open and be of service to the community during this difficult time but we need everyone to follow proper social distancing. These additional steps will effectively turn some of our roads into 20-foot-wide trails to encourage people to spread out and provide proper distance between other park users.”
It’s also closed some amenities that encourage close contact include the piers at Edgewater and Euclid Beach, Fort Hill Stairs and Squire’s Castle. Go here for a list of closures, which will be updated as things change.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has also adjusted its closures to discourage crowding and encourage social distancing. It’s urging people to avoid Brandywine Falls and Blue Hen Falls due to overcrowding. At Brandywine Falls, it’s limiting parking and closed the boardwalk. It’s closed parking at Blue Hen Falls.
“Please, if you see a crowded trailhead, consider going to another trailhead, they warn. “Maintain the length of a bed (or 5 ranger hats) between you and other users. We want you to stay healthy!”
It has now announced additions precautions:
- Travel loop trails in a clockwise direction only. Trails users should alert others when passing (on the left). One-way travel reduces the number of encounters with other visitors. Follow posted signs to ensure the proper direction of travel.
- Use portable toilets only in case of emergency. Park public restrooms are closed, and visitors are advised that, though portable toilets are provided and cleaned regularly, they are not as sanitary as your bathroom at home.
- Check for the latest closure information before visiting by calling 440-546-5960. A recorded message will give the most up-to-date information. CVNP will temporarily close parking areas, trails, boardwalks, and viewing locations as necessary to remain within guidance for safe social distancing.
Be flexible and do your part to reduce crowding. Opt for less-crowded park locations and less-crowded days of the week to visit. Weekends are always more crowded than weekdays. If you encounter a crowded location, do not get out of your vehicle. Please choose another location to visit.