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Duluth offers guidelines for people using parks, trails during pandemic

The city is closing all playgrounds to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Brody Kylen, 6, of Duluth plays on the playground at the Wheeler Flelds Sports Complex in Duluth Tuesday. The City of Duluth is closing playgrounds due to the concerns of transmitting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. (Clint Austin /caustin@duluthnews.com)

As Northland residents practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, outdoor activities can offer a bit of healthy respite, but Duluth city officials have issued some guidelines to help people use parks, trails and other outdoor amenities in a responsible fashion.

"Being active outdoors is an especially effective way to maintain mental and physical health during a stressful period like the one we are experiencing now," Parks and Recreation Manager Jessica Peterson said in a prepared statement. "The new guidelines are intended to equip residents with specific practical tips to help them enjoy our parks and trails as safely as possible."

Duluth city officials request that people:

  • Refrain from using parks or trails if they have symptoms being ill.
  • Cough into elbows and exercise good personal hygiene.
  • Expect that drinking fountains, public restrooms and places to shelter from the elements will be closed.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical separation from other individuals.
  • Let other trail users know when you are approaching and step aside if needed to provide adequate separation.
  • Avoid group gatherings.
  • Stick to local parks and trails, versus distant ones.
  • Avoid crowded trails or parks.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with benches, picnic tables, railings and trash cans.

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All of Duluth's 38 playgrounds are closed, effective immediately.

"At this unusual moment, there is no acceptably safe way for children to use public playgrounds," said Peterson in a press release. "The combination of small children engaged in close physical play on the type of surfaces on which the virus is known to persist represents a prohibitive hazard to public health."

City staff will be posting signs and removing portable toilets from parks this week.

Dog parks will remain open, but again, users are asked to maintain a proper distance from other users.

People looking for a safe, paved alternative to the sometimes-busy Lakewalk should consider alternatives:

  • The section of East Skyline Parkway that is currently closed to motorized traffic from Hawk Ridge to Seven Bridges Road.
  • The Campus Connector Trail.
  • Lincoln Park Drive, which will be partially closed to motorized traffic.
  • The Cross-City Trail.
  • The Willard Munger State Recreational Trail.

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Related Topics: RECREATION
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