Gabriela Benevento / The Broadside
Since Kate Brown’s executive order closing all “developed recreation sites…campgrounds, day-use sites, boat ramps, trailheads, sno-parks, fire lookouts, and OHV areas”, local Oregonians have still noticed plenty of other locals roaming the outdoors and getting their rock-climbing in.
Any park or trail that is not state owned has been left up to the city to decide on the park’s accessibility to the public. Whether or not a city owned park and/or trail is open in Oregon, is up to the city.
According to Julie Brown, the Community Relations Manager for Bend Parks and Recreational Center, Kate Brown’s executive order only directly targeted park’s amenities. Park amenities include playground structures, skate parks, basketball hoops and courts, etc. Any open field and/or trails within parks are still legally allowed to be roamed during COVID-19 (including public restrooms. This only includes Bend Park & Recreational park’s public restrooms).
Open fields and trails are only allowed to be roamed if individuals maintain 6-feet distance. There are exactly 80 miles of open park area and trails to Bend Oregonians. And according to Julie Brown, that’s how the parks plan to stay (80 miles of open park and trails total).
Julie Brown, on behalf of the Bend Parks and Rec. Organization, recommends Bendites to visit open trails and parks during earlier or later hours in the day (as opposed to visiting parks during the busier hours such as mid-day). Visiting parks at less populated hours will increase the likelihood of safe park and trail roaming.
Julie Brown also recommends to visit less popular parks in order to spread out the Bend Oregon populous among trails and parks. For any other recommendations and/or further information about how Bend Parks and Recreational is addressing COVID-19, visit their website at bendparksandrec.org
There are currently sign postages at each park, reminding individuals to maintain a 6-feet distance and to keep the individuals’ hands clean. There are also extra park rangers than usual on duty, patrolling city parks to ensure individuals are practicing safe social distancing.
The only city trail that has adapted is the Deschutes River Trail right next to Farewell Bend Park. The Deschutes River Trail, a loop trail, has now become a one-way trail. Signs posted along the trail signal hikers to which direction is which. This adaptation is due to the narrower parts of the trail not allowing hikers to maintain a 6-foot distance.
As for Bend Parks and Recreational and their personal experience with addressing COVID-19, Julie Brown reported the hardest part to be the complete shutdown of the Recreational side of Bend Parks and Recreational. Currently, all recreational sports teams and recreational athletic classes and facilities have been shut down until further notice (this includes the local senior center).
Bend Oregonians are arguably more fortunate than other cities when it comes to the plentiful amount of outdoor space during this quarantine. Continue to stay informed on city updates, as well as state updates, and continue to enjoy Central Oregon’s beautiful outdoors.