Regional Parks Remain Open as COVID-19 Peaks

Oakland – Regional Parks in the East Bay, notably all over the map of Alameda County, have vouched to remain open while the deadly pandemic slowly translates from the stage of shelter-in-place to vaccine distribution and possibly a new tier of safety measures. 

According to the East Bay Regional Parks conductor Dave Mason, Parks would rather close based on wind warnings rather than the perilous pandemic.

Mason said, “High winds can cause falling trees and branches, which can cause injury and create safety hazards.”

Anthony Chabot and Del Valle family campgrounds, according to Mason have opened on Feb. 11, 2021. “Del Valle campground has NO water until mid-March. Portable toilets will be available; BYO drinking water & RVs must fill water tanks before arriving,” Mason said. 

Mason also released a statement saying, “There are normal seasonal closures at Anthony Chabot, Morgan Territory and Black Diamond.”

This astounding choice to stay open and close based on only seasonal circumstances and wind warnings is an alarming shock to the efforts of the American people who are fighting a massive pandemic and are socially distancing, wearing masks and awaiting a pivotal vaccine to defeat a deadly virus.

However, the online press release for the East Bay Regional Parks District claims they are following COVID-19 protocol. The website for EBRPD, contrary to the word of park rangers, claims that, “COVID-19 guidelines for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties were recently updated to allow for additional outdoor recreational activities.”

In addition to emphasizing the reopening of the East Bay Regional Parks during this trying time, the parks will be open, without displaying measures of social distancing or mandatory masks, “The plan being developed will restore native grassland habitat and include paths and facilities for walking, jogging, and picnicking.” Mason said. 

The least dire consolidation for COVID-19 by the Regional Parks website will be a zoom meeting for, “Habitat restoration, recreation, and public access planning, A summary of existing conditions, constraints, and opportunities, and Project timeline and other opportunities to be involved.”

In addition to the lack of restrictions, unlike some Regional Parks in California, Mason proposed that fires and barbeque sites would remain open, limited backpacking sites in the Ohlone wilderness and Sunol are to remain open, but Round Valley backpack camp is closed due to fire warnings. 

In a press release from the East Bay Regional Parks District, it was stated, “The Park District, in collaboration with Doug McConnell (host of NBC’s OpenRoad) and other regional park agencies, recently launched a new series of Parks Are Essential public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting visitor safety during COVID-19.”

Both Mason and the East Bay Regional Parks news release failed to explain their ideals behind leaving Alameda County’s parks open. 

Nowhere does it clarify that fishing, barbequing, hiking, backpacking, or dog walking is limited by the effects of COVID-19 nor does it implement any safety measures for the said virus.

Alameda County residents continue to be able to access Regional Parks based on permits rather than safety measures. This distressing and questionable decision by Alameda County park rangers such as Dave Mason is a controversial subject of the total COVID-19 protocol.

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