As the weather is cooling, Seattle Parks and Recreation would like to suggest some safe and fun ways to stay active and get outdoors this fall and winter. It is important to remember, however, that COVID-19 is still being transmitted in our city, so it’s still important to follow safety guidelines.
While parks are outdoors (and therefore safer than many indoor spaces), many of our more popular trails and parks see thousands of visitors a day, which requires that we work together to avoid spreading COVID-19 in these spaces.
Let us talk safety, and then we’ll get to the fun stuff!
- Always bring your mask
- Did you know that Green Lake is one of the most visited parks in the State of Washington year-round?
- If you are visiting a park, it is likely you will pass by many others. Wearing your mask not only keeps you safe, it keeps others around you safe as well, and helps everyone feel that parks are a safe place to visit.
- Gatherings must remain small.
- You may be thinking, “Since I can’t have my annual Oktoberfest party at my house, I’ll just have it at a park.” That is not a great idea. Outdoor gatherings, particularly those with eating and drinking, are places where COVID-19 spreads. Keep gatherings to groups of 5 and under, and make sure you wear your mask and give others plenty of space.
- The basics are still important.
- Stay home if you are sick, or if someone in your household is sick.
- Wash your hands frequently and bring along hand sanitizer if you can.
- Be mindful of others.
- Give folks a wide berth when passing.
- Being consistent in following these precautions will help give us all a sense of safety. It will also make a big difference for those who may be at high risk for the virus, but still need critical access to being outside and in nature.
So, this autumn, we are encouraging you to get outside. If we are smart and careful, we can enjoy the fall and winter months outdoors while keeping others safe.
We have made a few changes to our park amenities as the weather cools. Parking lots that had been closed at popular parks will reopen on October 19. Play areas reopened October 6. Outdoor adult fitness equipment reopened October 6. And Seward Park will allow for bike access again on October 12.
And remember, we have over 485 parks in Seattle. 485!!! We have even opened four new ones since the pandemic began.
Please spread out. We understand that Green Lake or Discovery Park may be your favorites and part of your routine, but this fall we encourage you to branch out and explore what SPR’s expansive network of other parks has to offer.
If you do choose to visit a more popular regional park, please do so during off hours. As a reminder, some of Seattle’s parks that have the most visitors include Green Lake, Alki, Seward, Discovery, Magnuson, Golden Gardens, Myrtle Edwards, and Lincoln parks.
You may be thinking, “Well those are the biggest, the others are all small pocket parks.” And you would be wrong! Westcrest Park is the third largest in our system, after Discovery and Magnuson. It is a beautiful park in the Delridge/White Center neighborhood.
Or maybe you are thinking that Seward, Discovery, and Lincoln parks all have beautiful forests, and you can’t find that elsewhere in the City. And you’d be wrong again! Madrona Park, Deadhorse Canyon, North Acres, and Interlaken are some of the many spaces where you can be under a canopy of trees and away from the crowds.
Take this fall and winter as an opportunity to challenge yourself to get outside and be physically active during our cooler months, and at the same time, do some exploring of the city you call home. Seattle has one of the largest park systems in the country. We also have neighborhood streets lined with beautiful trees.
At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we are taking responsibility for providing safe and open access to nature and our city’s parks as we make our way through this pandemic. We do that by cleaning restrooms more frequently, training our staff on safety protocols, and providing you with the info you need to be safe and keep others safe. We also do this work by monitoring activity our parks and responding should we see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, or a lack of safe behaviors in our open spaces.
So, get out, enjoy the outdoors, and be safe.