Submitted by Thurston County

Thurston County is reopening county parks for public use, starting Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The reopening includes Burfoot, Frye Cove, Kenneydell and Deschutes Falls parks. It also includes the Off-Leash Dog Park and Closed Loop Park located near the Waste and Recovery Center (WARC) in Hawks Prairie. The move, directed by the Board of County Commissioners, follows the reopening of state parks and those of other area jurisdictions, including the cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Olympia.

“The Board’s decision to reopen our county parks is an attempt to provide county residents an opportunity to care for their mental and physical wellbeing with options to safely recreate locally here in the county,” said County Manager, Ramiro Chavez. “Given the nature of this pandemic, use of playground equipment will continue to be prohibited, along with other group amenities, but people can access park trails and green spaces using appropriate social distancing.”

On May 6, all county parks will reopen daily, during standard operating hours. Restrooms will also be open and are scheduled to be cleaned twice daily until further notice. As part of the reopening, the public is expected to follow new limited use rules including:

  • No use of group amenities including picnic shelters, playgrounds, and courts.
  • No group activities including picnics, sports games, etc.

“We expect the public to use their parks and trails responsibly, and follow the new limited use rules and Health Department recommendations for outdoor recreation,” said Thurston County Parks and Trails Manager, Kerry Hibdon.

Thurston County Health Department recommendations for outdoor recreation include:

  • Limit your recreation partners to only those who live within your household unit.
  • If you encounter others, maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance.
  • Participate in outdoor activities close to your home. Do not travel farther than necessary.
  • Bring your own face covering and hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you pack it in, pack it out. Take all your belongings and waste when you leave.

For more information about county parks and trails, visit: https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/parksandtrails.html.

For information about the county’s COVID-19 response, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx.

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