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Health | Fitness

Here’s the status of San Diego beaches and hiking trails, plus how to recreate safely outdoors

A San Diego Lifeguard patrols a closed Pacific Beach on March 30, 2020. San Diego beaches, parks and trails were closed due to the coronavirus.
A San Diego Lifeguard patrols a closed Pacific Beach on March 30, 2020. San Diego beaches, parks and trails were closed due to the coronavirus.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

California State Parks are now largely off limits to visitors in an ongoing effort to slow the spread of coronavirus

Beaches closed. Parks closed. Hiking trails closed.

While efforts to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus are limiting options for outdoor recreation, public health officials are still encouraging people to exercise in the sun.

This coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is part of your subscription to The San Diego Union-Tribune. We also provide free coverage as a service to our community.

Specifically, folks are being told to walk, jog or bicycle around their own neighborhoods while steering clear of unnecessary encounters. State officials recently issued these specific guidelines for recreating outside:

  • Stick to outdoor activities in your own neighborhood. You’re probably going too far if you have to drive.
  • Wash your hands before and after an outing. Bring hand sanitizer when possible.
  • When outside, keep at least 6 feet between yourself and other individuals. Step off trails and sidewalks to let others pass with ample room.
  • Do not touch public play structures or drink from water fountains.
  • Keep pets on leash at all times.
  • Perhaps most important, do not leave your home if you’re experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, such as fever, weakness or coughing.

What’s closed? What’s still open?

Elected leaders started, more than a week ago, restricting access to beaches and hiking trails after throngs of cooped up residents refused to stay put. As closures mount, residents have packing remote, once-quiet trails.

Nearly all beaches and boardwalks throughout the San Diego region have been closed as of Tuesday.

Oceanside has continued to allow recreation along its shoreline but has closed the area around its pier and restricted parking west of the train tracks. The Coronado City Council was scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on whether to close its beaches.

The cities of San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, as well as the Port of San Diego have closed all parks and hiking trails.

Vista, San Marcos and Escondido have so far chosen to keep at least some parks and trails open to the public. For example, while Kit Carson Park in Escondido remains open, disk golf has been prohibited.

County parks and hiking trails also remain open with a few exceptions. However, camping reservations have been canceled through April. For more information visit sdparks.org.

The local restrictions come as Gov. Gavin Newsom recently closed all state parks to vehicle traffic, including the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in eastern San Diego County. The governor also completely shuttered state parks in Los Angeles, Monterey, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, where elected officials have issued blanket closures for local parks.

The Cleveland National Forest has restricted access to all campgrounds and picnic areas, but left many of its hiking trials open to the public. For a list of closed trail heads visit fs.usda.gov/cleveland.

National forest spokeswoman Anabele Cornejo said that select trails are expected to remain open as long as visitors maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance between one another.

“In areas where there’s a lot of people congregating and you can’t keep the 6 feet of distance we’ve closed those trails,” she said. “If we find that people are still coming in large numbers and creating a situation where you can’t have that social distance, we may close more.”

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has also closed all developed campgrounds and recreation sites throughout California. However, some dispersed camping and recreation is still being allowed in places such as the Imperial Sand Dunes. For more information visit blm.gov.


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