Parks are Essential... Now More than Ever
The East Bay Regional Park District has long promoted parks as an essential service vital to our quality of life and to our physical and mental health. The recent COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that, with undeniable clarity.
It has not been easy, with many challenges including limited staffing, rapidly changing health orders, and the need to educate the public quickly about how to visit parks safely (some of you may have seen our PSAs on TV providing information about visiting parks). Protecting the health and safety of the public and our employees continues to be our top priority.
The Park District has answered the call and kept over 99% of the District’s 125,000 acres of parklands, 55 miles of shoreline, and 1,300 miles of recreational trails open and accessible to the public.
Through proper emergency management and planning, we have been able to limit crowding, keeping parks safe for visitors. Our plan ensures that parks and trails are kept open in the most equitable way possible, spreading out parks access in both urban and suburban areas.
I am also proud of our organization and how we came together during this crisis to persevere and carry out our mission of providing parks, open space, trails, recreation, and environmental education. Please enjoy the Digital Learning videos created by our talented Naturalists.
Thank you to our park visitors, too, for being responsible and doing your part, maintaining social distancing, bringing and wearing masks, abiding by rules to keep dogs on-leash in parks, and avoiding gatherings, picnicking, and barbequing. With continued increases in COVID-19 cases, it is important to keep yourselves and our staff safe by wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is essential to keeping us all safe.
I am proud of our staff for their resilience in adapting quickly to a changing environment and for their unwavering dedication to public service. Next time you see one of our employees, please thank them for their service. It means a lot.
Your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this time of crowded parks has been much appreciated by the Park District as we work to balance the public’s need for parks, public health, and the health of our employees.
Stay healthy, and be safe in your Regional Parks.
Robert E. Doyle