I wrote this back in May, earlier into the pandemic. This was an outlet for my frustrations dealing with the Parks Departments and the nonsense decisions that have been made dealing with COVID.
On May 10th I went to Pawtuckaway State Park to go hiking and found that Eastern entrance to the park along Reservation Road and the Northern entrance to the park along Round Pond Road were both closed. The parking lots at these entrances were roped off and there was a sign along Deerfield Road stating that there is no access to the park along that road.
Why? Well, according to the New State Parks website, “In response to COVID-19, all trailhead parking off of Reservation Road is closed on the weekends”. This doesn’t make any sense. There’s more hikers and bikers on the weekend, which just means that a larger number of people all have to start their day in the same spot, the Pawtuckaway Road parking lot. Every hiker has to start their day by hiking about half a mile down Pawtuckaway Road before reaching the trailhead to the Southern Mountain. The tower on top of the Southern Mountain is the most traveled to site in the park, so the majority of hikers turn there and begin to hike the same three mile trail up to the tower. There are a couple other trail heads that can be reached from Pawtuckaway Road, but most hikers are traveling on the one.
In the State Park’s attempt to encourage social distancing, they have made social distancing laughably more difficult. In addition, I went to the bathroom at the roadside out house at the base of the Southern Mountain around 4:30 PM. According to the cleaning chart on the wall, the outhouse had been serviced at 2 PM that day. Despite the fact that it had been less than 3 hours since the alleged service, the hand sanitizer dispenser had no hand sanitizer in it. How concerned they are with COVID 19 seems to be significantly less than how concerned they would like to appear to be about COVID 19. The State Parks insistence upon security theater has made us less safe.
As long as we keep our distance from each other, we’re safer outside than inside. So, why is the state making it harder for us to keep our distance when we’re outside?
I have major issues with how the federal government has dealt with outdoor recreation in our state as well. This link is to an episode of my podcast, touching on these issues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqL10gOC9h0&t=1157s