MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – After 25 days, St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page says it’s time for the larger parks in the county to reopen.
The county initially closed the parks because they were too crowded. But now most people understand the importance of social distancing. There will be signs posted to reinforce that message.
“A crowded park is a closed park,” Dr. Page said.
Not all county parks will reopen. Larger parks will open, whereas smaller parks will stay closed. This is all in hopes to keep people distant from one another.
“We know that our parks is a relief valve for our community. Our kids can only watch so much Netflix. Our adults can only do so much homeschooling,” Page said. “I am convinced now that socially distancing is understood by our community.”
The county has rethought how the parks will operate amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Restrooms, dog parks, sporting courts, and all indoor facilities will remain closed. Thirty-one walking and hiking trails will be open but they are now one-way loops to prevent passing and close contact. Lone Elk Park will remain a drive-thru park.
Events at the parks remain canceled through May 15.
“We needed to take some time to reboot. To implement signage and educate our residents,” Page said. “We did not have the bandwidth or capacity to do that quickly as our park rangers some of them were sick.”
Three county park rangers tested positive for COVID-19. All have recovered and returned to the job, including Deputy Commander Richard Banahan.
“I just want to say it’s great to be back. It’s great that the parks are opening up,” Banahan said. “And for everyone to just remember to maintain social distance.”
Along with social distancing by at least six feet from others, visitors are asked to do three other things:
- Keep moving.
- If you come to the park and see its crowded, consider coming back or visit another park.
- Use common sense.
“These are all tough decisions. None of these decisions are easy,” Page said. “None of them are clear. We are dealing with a novel coronavirus.”
One thing is clear: if the county sees the parks begin to overcrowd again and people do not follow social distancing guidelines, the county will re-close the parks.
The list of parks and trails that will be open will be available at stlcorona.com.
St. Louis County plans on a measured reopening process for businesses, religious gatherings, and events. Missouri Governor Mike Parson said the state will open for business again on Monday, May 4. Not all cities like St. Louis are included.
“Some communities may be able to reopen at a faster rate while others may need to continue some guidance to keep their virus from spreading,” Parson said.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said the stay at home order in St. Louis City swill stay in place for at least several more weeks.
The below parks and trails will reopen on Tuesday, April 28.
- Bee Tree
- Bella Fontaine
- Blake C Snyder Memorial
- Butler Lake
- Cliff Cave
- Creve Coeur
- Fort Belle FontaineGeorge Winter
- Grant’s Trail
- Jefferson Barracks
- Laumeier Sculpture Park
- Lone Elk (drive-thru only)
- Lower Meramec
- Ohlendorf WestQueeny
- Sherman Beach
- Sioux Passage
- Spanish Lake
- St. Vincent
- Veterans Memorial
- West Tyson
The below parks will remain closed.
- Bissell House
- Black Forest
- Hunter’s Ford
- Robert Winter
- Schaefer Bend
- St. George
- Sylvan Springs