Some Walking Trails Closed During COVID-19 Pandemic
With many Massachusetts residents stuck at home during today's COVID-19 restrictions, the condition known as cabin fever is on the rise.
With bars, restaurants, movie theaters and malls now closed, more and more people are spending time outdoors as an available option for a change of scenery. That means that popular conservation areas are suddenly packed with cars and people.
Now two major land preservation players in the state say they will close their properties to the public for now due to Gov. Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home advisory.
Mass Audubon President Gary Clayton announced this week that the group's wildlife sanctuaries and trails will be closed to the public until further notice.
“We know how important it is to get out in nature, and there is nothing we like better than seeing people enjoying our trails," Clayton wrote. “But the health and safety of the residents of Massachusetts and beyond must take priority. Our hope is that these extreme measures will help flatten the curve, so we can soon go back to business as usual. And with the support of people like you, we will come back even stronger.”
Clayton encouraged people to explore closer to home and to be on the lookout for signs of spring, including "the calls of spring peepers and wood frogs, salamanders on the move, emerging skunk cabbage, and the return of eastern phoebes and other migratory birds.”
Mass Audubon owns the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport and Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Onset.
The Trustees of Reservations, which owns the Slocums River Reserve and Westport Town Farm, posted a statement from CEO Barbara J. Erickson: “We are saddened to announce that we will comply with this advisory by closing all Trustees properties beginning tomorrow, March 24 until April 7."
She said all staff not involved in agricultural production and necessary operations will be at home. All gates and parking lots are closed, and the organization has asked the public to respect these barriers.
Erickson acknowledged that some local people will still walk on the properties, and she asked them to be respectful and "follow guidelines about litter, safety, and dog behavior."
In Bristol and Plymouth counties, the Buzzards Bay Coalition properties were still open as of Wednesday with signs posted asking people to be respectful and to practice proper social distancing while on the trails.