We have made it through seven weeks of quarantine and we are ready to get outside! In the first week of May the state put out a detailed list of outdoor activities that are allowed, including hiking and cycling, as long as social-distancing guidelines are followed.
The Bay Area has more than 20 agencies and districts that manage more than 150 recreation destinations. Each has its own county health department that set guidelines independently of other counties, park districts and watersheds, resulting in a mixed bag of rules that differ everywhere you go.
New rules of the trail
- Have a plan before you go outdoors. Check the official websites of the places you want to visit, and make sure they are open. Many parking lots are closed and several parks are open only to those who can walk or bike in.
- Stick to trails within Solano, Napa and Sonoma counties. This won’t be a forever rule, and this gives the opportunity to explore the beauty in our own backyard.
- Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others. That’s about two arm lengths. Give a wide berth to people passing if a trail narrows. Choose parks with trails that are wide (fire roads are excellent choices), and if you arrive at a park that’s crowded, consider another local park.
- Avoid gathering in large groups or with anyone you aren’t already quarantining with. Keep to family units or those you’ve been sheltering-in-place with, at least for the time being.
- Good hand hygiene goes a long way. Carry hand sanitizer or pack a biodegradable soap and an extra bottle of water, along with a small towel in your pack, in case you need to wash your hands in a pinch.
- Some things about hiking haven’t changed at all, like pack it in, pack it out. Follow the Leave No Trace guidelines.
OPEN PARKS TRAILS AND LAKES
Benicia State Recreation Area – Parking lot is closed but the area is open for walking, biking, running and hiking. Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people at the park or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
Solano County Parks – Beldens Landing Water Access Facility – Daily 24hr Launch Access Only
Lake Solano County Park – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 8am-4pm Launch Access Only
Sandy Beach County Park – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 8am-4pm Launch Access Only
Lynch Canyon Open Space remains closed until further notice. All Day Use, Beach and Campground accesses remain closed.
Napa County parks and trails – all parks in the Napa Open Space District are currently open for trail users. Please practice social distancing and safe practices guidelines for park use. Please refer to napaoutdoors.org for detailed information.
East Bay Regional Parks – To limit unsafe overcrowding and maintain social distancing, the Park District has temporarily closed some parking lots and staging areas through Sunday, May 31, 2020, with some full park closures. However, most trails remain accessible on a walk-in, bike-in basis.
Hopefully, by the time you read this on June 1st, there will be more parks and trails open.