City park fields to close over weekend due to weather, as trails see 30% increase in visits

In a photo taken before county parks and trails were closed to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, Australian shepherd, Stevie, pulls Sydney Cota, center, and Chasen Collins as they start their five mile hike in the parking lot at Towsley Canyon Park in Newhall on March 21, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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All city park fields will close over Easter weekend due to recent wet weather conditions, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth announced Friday. 

“You all know the weather has been pretty rough this weekend this past week, and it’s important that we stay off the city fields to allow them to recover,” the mayor said during a live city briefing. “So there should be no picnics, no one-on-one, playing catch or any social activities on the city fields.” 

Should anyone want to walk through the city parks, “you’re free to do so, but again, the fields will be closed through the weekend,” he said, reminding the public to continue practicing physical distancing as the stay-at-home order has been extended through May 15 in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

In a Friday news release, the city said that usage of Santa Clarita trails has increased by 30% in bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Much of the increase has come from families with children, people walking their pets and telecommuters taking a break from their jobs.

A fitness zone at a Castaic park is closed off Thursday until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Dan Watson/ The Signal

During weekly live briefings, Smyth has highlighted that parks and trails in Santa Clarita remain open for use but certain amenities have closed, including dog parks, basketball courts, tennis/pickleball courts and park restrooms. Most recently, the city closed its skate park. Closures came after reports of large gatherings of people continued despite orders to avoid doing so in an effort to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Still, it remains vital to leave access to trails and paseos for the community’s mental and physical health, according to the mayor.

“The city realizes the value of its trails and paseos during the coronavirus emergency,” he said in a statement. “I have received many positive comments about the importance of the trails and paseos and the impact on our quality of life. Never has this been more true than during this era of social distancing.”

In order for these areas to remain open during the pandemic, the city urges the public to practice social distancing and practice these rules of trail etiquette: 

  • If you are on a bike, ride to the right of the lane marked for bicycles and yield to pedestrians. Avoid riding in the lane marked for pedestrian use.
  • Pedestrians keep to the right and use the marked pedestrian lane where provided. 
  • Use extra caution when using a bridge under crossings, reducing your speed when necessary.
  • Always be alert and watch out for other users who might be entering or exiting the trail.

More information on the trail system, including safety tips, maps, hours of operation and comment or request forms, may be found at bikesantaclarita.com. For all local coronavirus-related stories, visit: signalscv.com/2020/03/covid-19-coverage-summary.

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