Outdoor Parks and Trails

At this time, the park system remains open to the public for use. It is the duty and the responsibility of the public to adhere to the rules of social distancing set forth by the state and federal government.

On March 25, 2020 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-20 directing that Minnesotans stay at home. In the Executive Order, a number of activities are specifically exempted from the stay at home order, including outdoor activities. The order reads, in part, “Individuals may engage in outdoor activities (e.g., walking, hiking, running, biking, driving for pleasure, hunting, or fishing) and may go to available public parks and other public recreation lands, consistent with remaining at least six feet apart from individuals from other households”. Users of the park system are encouraged to follow social distancing practices at all times to protect both themselves and other community members.

Please also be aware that studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can live on hard surfaces for as long as several days. Please use proper handwashing or sanitizing after coming into contact with any hard surface equipment located within City parks.

As of the morning of March 20, 2020, there was not specific guidance for use of outdoor trails.  The National Recreation and Park Association has provided some recommendations on how to observe social distancing while using trails that are posted below.

There are a number of specific recommendations for advising the public to keep 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 symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
  • Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep 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 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