If the state enters phase one of Governor Roy Cooper’s phased reopening this week, it means state parks will get a green light to open their gates to visitors. That would include places like Umstead and Falls Lake. Even though they remain closed today, people are still parking on the side of the road and venturing into the parks for recreation. One park attendee we spoke with said that no one should be allowed to be parked on the side of the road while the parks remain closed due to safety concerns.
“I just think it’s a hazard. If you lock the gates and close things down, then you really shouldn’t allow people to park all on the road on tight back roads, and they’ve got kayaks and all this other stuff. I’m just thinking it’s an accident waiting to happen,” explained Paula Marston who was out walking the trails.
People we spoke with said they are mainly in favor of reopening parks as the current stay at home order is set to expire Friday. Safety remains a top concern when parks are able to be enjoyed again.
“People have to maintain their social distancing,” said Cheryl Siegel, who was out enjoying a walk with a friend. “Everybody goes to the same parks. I’m surprised there’s not more – well it’s raining – the parks get so overcrowded. There just needs to be more places people can go to, but people have to, have to, maintain their social distancing and their protection.”
Trails in state parks remain open, but all other amenities, including restrooms, remain closed for now. Most parking lots, unless they directly access a trail, are also closed.