Indy Parks announced the closure of the popular Broad Ripple Park Bark Park, along with three other locations, effective April 18. The protective measure will last until further notice.
“This is a challenging time for all of us, and we know that many people are coming to parks for recreation, fitness, and really to just have a sense of normalcy and relaxation,” said Linda Broadfoot, director of Indy Parks. “For now, we cannot continue to gather in crowds and participate in activities as we did before. Together, we can temporarily restrict access to some of our favorite spaces to limit the spread the coronavirus in parks, on trails, and in our communities.”
In response to stay-at-home orders from Governor Eric Holcomb and Mayor Joe Hogsett, Indy Parks had previously closed all family centers, playgrounds, basketball courts, golf courses, indoor facilities, shelters, and tennis courts. “To protect the health and safety of park users, closed and restricted amenities should not be used until further notice,” Broadfoot said.
Spring weather enticed people to get out of the house and use the City’s parks and trail networks. While Broadfoot said she is glad to see so many people out using public greenspaces and trails, she also offers the following cautionary advice: “When you visit a park, please make sure you are following CDC guidance on social distancing—give each other space, avoid gathering in large groups, and be respectful of our shared spaces.”
The National Recreation and Park Association offers these recommendations for safe social distancing when in parks or on trails
- Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails—wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have virus symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
- Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of at least 6 feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Maintain it as you walk, bike, or hike.
- Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell, or horn.
- Note that trail and park users may find public restrooms closed—be prepared before you leave and time your outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
- Bring water or drinks—public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash; take everything out to protect park workers.
- Dog walking presents challenges of its own. In order to maintain safe social distancing, NRPA recommends that all dogs remain on a leash at all times in parks. Dog walkers should be especially careful to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other dogs and persons.