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Healthy Tahoe: Enjoy outdoor recreation wisely during crisis

Lauren Thomaselli
Lauren Thomaselli
Provided

Beautiful weather and a case of cabin fever from shelter in place directives have many of us yearning to get outside. Being in nature provides many wellness benefits.

When we leave home to enjoy the bounty of outdoor activities, parks and trails around us, we can honor those working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic by doing our part to stay healthy and keep each other safe.

Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the National Parks and Recreation Association, South Lake Tahoe has taken precautions to keep public parks and trails open while limiting the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The public can access city parks including Bijou Community Park, Bonanza Park, Regan Beach and Lakeview Commons by walking or biking in. However, there are a few operational changes in effect at these South Lake Tahoe parks.

In an effort to discourage large gatherings, parking lots have been closed to vehicle traffic. Surfaces in public restrooms also present a hazard for virus transmission, and all restrooms facilities are closed at public parks.

In addition to keeping public parks accessible, essential workers have kept Class 1 bike trails clear of snow and ready to enjoy.

We can all do our part by adhering to guidelines while using public park and trails:

●Do not use the parks or trails if you are exhibiting respiratory illness symptoms, or experiencing fever or unusual body aches

●Follow CDC guidelines on masking and hygiene prior to visiting parks or trails

●Be prepared for no access to public bathrooms and water fountains

●Share the trail or park facilities, and warn other users of your presence as you near or pass them

●Practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of six feet from others outside of your immediate household at all times

Right now, knowing your skill level and making conservative choices by selecting familiar areas and avoiding any unnecessary risk are best practices.

Choose recreational sites near your home to avoid overcrowding trailheads. If the parking area is crowded, seek a less crowded place to recreate.

At this time, don’t carpool unless it is with members of your household. And as always, leave no trace and get home safe.

On behalf of recreation partners and health care providers in the Tahoe Basin, we encourage you to be extra safe while recreating.

Mountain communities like ours have limited medical resources, and they are needed for the local COVID-19 response. By taking additional measures for responsible recreation as we venture into the area’s vast mountain biking and hiking trail systems, we can help these first responders by avoiding an accident where they would be needed if we were injured.

In the words one of the world’s most famous naturalists, John Muir, “the mountains are calling.” We can heed that call while supporting essential services and protecting our area’s limited healthcare resources by following public health and safety guidelines.

As our community is forced to slow down with shelter in place directives, we are fortunate to be here at Lake Tahoe. Let’s enjoy the serenity of the outdoors and protect ourselves just as we protect the environment we live in.

Lauren Thomaselli is the recreation superintendent for South Lake Tahoe. To learn more about city parks and recreation programs and operational hours, visit cityofslt.us/recreation or call 530-542-6056. For a summary of current shelter in place orders and public access restrictions in the region, visit bartonhealth.org/shelterinplace.


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