King County Parks announced today that on May 8 it will re-open its parks and trails, including regional and backcountry trails, with some restrictions. The county cautions, however, that keeping parks and trails open will depend on visitors practicing safe distancing and following public health guidelines.
Parking lots and trailheads will be open, as well as fields, docks and boat launches, and the off-leash dog area at Marymoor Park. Visitors are asked to “Keep it Moving!” and refrain from gathering or playing team sports or pick-up games on the fields. King County Parks’ decision follows the Governor’s recent announcement about the May 5 re-opening of state recreation lands.
“Here in King County, we treasure our parks, trails, and wilderness, and I know that people are eager to enjoy the outdoors during these stressful and uncertain times,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We are re-opening our parks and trails in a measured way and encourage folks to recreate responsibly, keep each other safe, and continue to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in King County.”
“Outdoor recreation is a great idea but we absolutely need to continue to take precautions to prevent bringing COVID-19 back home with us. Everyone must practice safe distancing and good hand hygiene whether indoors or out because lives depend on it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. “Where parks and trails are experiencing overcrowding and where safe distancing is not occurring, we will need to recommend re-closing those facilities to prevent the spread of infection.”
King County Parks is planning for a phased re-opening and return to full operations. The division will monitor use and continue to follow guidance from the Governor and Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Facilities such as restrooms, play areas, sports courts, and picnic shelters, will remain closed. The campground at Tolt-MacDonald Park remains closed, as does the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, the Jim Ellis Preston Community Center, and the White Center Community Center. Organized activities and programs, such as team sports, race events, swimming lessons, volunteer work parties, and public gatherings remain suspended.
King County Parks will update the status of its parks, trails, and facilities at kingcountyparks.org/COVID.
King County Parks, in collaboration with local and state land managers and outdoor recreation stakeholders, is encouraging people to recreate responsibly by adhering to the following guidelines:
- 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 and 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. Be prepared to go somewhere else if your destination seems crowded. Add hand sanitizer and a mask or other 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.
The health and safety of residents and Parks employees is paramount, and Parks will continue to monitor its parks and trails to ensure that visitors are following physical distancing and other public health guidelines. King County Parks encourages visitors to do their part and keep each other safe so that King County’s parks and trails can remain open.
Park and trail visitors can report crowding, areas that need attention, or other issues using King County Parks’ reporting tool, SeeClickFix at https://seeclickfix.com/king-county