As the spring temperatures have arrived in the DMV, many of us have found ourselves exploring the indoors rather than venturing out. Local parks, however, have continued to see increased use whether it’s by foot, bicycle or another form of boredom-killing fun.
According to BikeArlington, trail counts have been up more than 50% on weekends in the area, meaning most trails are becoming crowded, making maintaining social distancing measures difficult and prompting local organizations to encourage alternative routes or using the trails at non-peak times (such as during the day on weekdays).
Trail counts are up 50% above average, on the weekends. Try an alternative route. Protect yourself and others by avoiding crowded trails. Here is a list of recommended alternatives routes: https://t.co/vbKQi9f12v https://t.co/QQqjhVEkIO
— BikeArlington (@BikeArlington) May 2, 2020
When will regional parks reopen in Northern Virginia?
Virginia state parks have remained open for exercise and day-use activities through the pandemic, but restrooms, water stations and overnight facilities have been closed. As Gov. Ralph Northam seeks to ease restrictions across the commonwealth starting Friday, May 15, local and statewide parks are planning to reopen campgrounds starting Friday, May 22. Check here for reservation requests, cancellations or answers to other frequently asked questions.
Since March 20, Arlington Parks and Recreation facilities have been closed to the public, with the exception of trails. Despite Gov. Northam’s newly released “Forward Virginia” blueprint for easing restrictions across the commonwealth, all Arlington County/Arlington Public Schools (APS) parks, playgrounds, fields, restrooms, tracks, dog parks and athletic courts will remain closed until further notice as local leaders have opposed Phase 1 of reopening in the Northern Virginia region, for the time being.
In Fairfax County, golf courses will start to reopen starting this week, and many reopened last week to the public. On May 8, Burke Lake Golf Center, Greendale Golf Course and Laurel Hill Golf Club reopened. On Friday, May 15, Pinecrest Golf Course and Twin Lakes Golf Course (Oaks) will follow suit, and on Friday, May 22, Jefferson Golf Course, Oak Marr Golf Complex and Twin Lakes Golf Course (Lakes) will also reopen to resident golfers. In order to maintain proper social distancing guidelines and the safety of golf course staff, modifications include advanced online payment, expedited check-in, amended cart usage, limited clubhouse occupancy and to-go-only food and beverage service. Course-specific guidelines are in place and can be found online at Park Authority Golf, according to the website. Fairfax County parks and facilities will remain closed indefinitely, until new direction is given by local and state leaders.
The City of Alexandria, Prince William County and Loudoun County parks and facilities will remain closed indefinitely until further notice. Trails remain open for passive and recreational use, including county parks and Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Loudoun, and the Silver Lake and Doves Landing parking lots open in Prince William.
In other park news …
The National Park Service has completed its environmental assessment of the RiverRenew project in Alexandria, a major infrastructure project that has been planned to prevent the discharge of millions of gallons of combined sewage to Alexandria’s waterways. The current project includes the construction of a tunnel system, sewer infrastructure and improvements to AlexRenew’s wastewater treatment plant. Several specific alternative proposals for the plan have been offered by the National Park Service, and you can get the breakdown on the details here.
A new trail is coming to Chantilly as Fairfax County Park Authority begins work on Flatlick Stream Valley Park. This project includes 1,250 linear feet of new asphalt trail, an entrance at a public-service road adjacent to Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, and spans approximately from Hamlin Court to Bordolino Drive adjacent to the Brookleigh subdivision neighborhood. The $494,000 project is being funded by the 2016 Park Bond, according to the park authority’s news release.
In addition, in Fairfax County, more than 11 acres of land was purchased in April that is adjacent to Halifax Point District Park at 6602 Bill Run Post Office Road in Centreville. “The additional acreage in the Sully District will offer open space connectivity in the district and has a high potential for significant cultural resources,” according to the park authority’s news release.
As restrictions are eased across the commonwealth, subscribe to our Parks & Rec newsletter for local updates, and tune into your local Parks & Rec departments for locality-specific openings, closures and guidelines.