8/6/20 COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE:
Parks & trails remain open. Please see below for the latest information and FAQs and observe the following guidelines for safe park use:
- Think First: Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms.
- Wash Hands: Wash your hands before coming to the park, carry hand sanitizer and try to avoid high-touch areas.
- Keep Your Distance: Maintain 6 feet between yourself and others and give warning before passing on the trail. Follow trail markings for one-way travel.
- Come Prepared: Bring your own drinking water, carry out your trash and be prepared for possible restroom closures.
- Respect Closures: Some restrooms and other amenities are closed for public safety. Please bypass busy areas for quieter ones - it's a great time to check out a new park.
- Stay in Touch: The situation changes rapidly. We are implementing dynamic closures and updating this website and our social media with the latest information.
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Summit Metro Parks today announced the next phase of its COVID-19 response plan, including operating status for public buildings, rentable lodges and shelters, park amenities and in-person programming. Parks and trails remain open.
“We continue to maintain parks and trails for the public’s health and enjoyment with safety as our top priority,” said Executive Director Lisa King. “As we look ahead to the fall season, we are pleased to offer the Fall Hiking Spree, an expanded selection of virtual programs, and the return of some in-person programming.”
Beginning September 8, the park district will once again accept reservations for outdoor shelters for groups limited to 50 percent of the designated maximum capacity. Also in September, Summit Metro Parks will begin providing a limited selection of physically-distanced, small-group outdoor programming to supplement its virtual offerings.
Nature centers and other indoor park district facilities remain closed for public safety. Indoor rentable lodges remain closed through December 31, with new reservations accepted for dates beginning April 1, 2021. Those with existing reservations may contact the park district to cancel or reschedule at no charge. Special-use permits are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with state guidelines, Summit County Public Health Department requirements and park district policies.
Summit Metro Parks remains fully operational, with rangers and maintenance crews continuing to keep parks clean and safe, naturalists and biologists helping to deliver public
programming, and the majority of administrative staff continuing to telework to serve the public while complying with social distancing requirements. At this time, facilities and amenities closed for public safety include:
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do we reach you while staff is teleworking?
At this time, our offices are closed, but we continue to serve you via telework. Please call 330.867.5511 to reach us. We are also available by email for questions regarding a lodge, shelter or camping reservation or a special use permit at email@example.com.
Will Fall Hiking Spree be held this year?
Yes, Fall Hiking Spree will continue normally this year! Information on the 2020 spree will be available August 17 at hikingspree.summitmetroparks.org.
How do I collect my Fall Hiking Spree and Spree for All rewards? Will there be shield assistance?
Spree rewards for the 2019 Fall Hiking Spree and 2020 Spree for All are available for outdoor pickup at limited dates and times through August 28. Please see the Spree for All or Fall Hiking Spree website for more details. We will offer similar pickup opportunities for Fall Hiking Spree and will list them at hikingspree.summitmetroparks.org.
While we are unable to safely offer shield assistance this year, we have created a step-by-step video for attaching the shield to your hiking staff and will make that available via our website and YouTube channel once the spree is underway.
Why are your nature centers closed? When will they reopen?
Nature centers encourage people to gather together in a small area with many high-touch surfaces. Summit Metro Parks nature centers cannot meet the state’s disinfection and physical distancing guidelines for retail, consumer service and entertainment venues and therefore are not permitted to open under current rules. We do not currently have a reopening date.
When will in-person programming resume?
In addition to our ongoing virtual programming opportunities, Summit Metro Parks will begin offering a limited selection of small-group, physically distanced outdoor programming in September. Please stay tuned for more information on our website.
When will you reopen outdoor shelters?
After carefully reviewing state guidance for these facilities, we have determined that we can safely reopen them at half capacity beginning on September 8. Please note that Summit Metro Parks is unable to disinfect outdoor shelters between uses.
What is the status of my reservation?
What does this mean for my Special Use Permit?
- All lodge reservations are canceled through December 31 and you may reschedule or receive a refund. A customer service representative will be in touch with you to work out those details, or you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Beginning September 8, the park district will reopen shelters at half capacity. We will continue to monitor state guidance on allowable group sizes and may increase this number if permitted by health authorities.
- Until further notice, Summit Metro Parks is only accepting new lodge reservations for dates beginning April 1, 2021.
- Additional cancellations are possible, pending further guidance from public health authorities. Rescheduling and refunds are also available to those with reservations through March 31.
The governor has allowed weddings and wedding receptions - why is my lodge reservation still canceled?
- Special-use permits are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with state guidelines, Summit County Public Health requirements and park district policies.
- Permit holders may be required to provide proof that Summit County Public Health has approved their plan for complying with safety and social distancing guidance.
The governor’s order involving weddings applies to facilities that can operate under all the guidelines set forth for restaurants. Summit Metro Parks lodges cannot meet restaurant guidelines and therefore are not permitted to open under current rules. The park district was unable to hire seasonal employees this year and does not have the staff necessary to ensure these facilities can be safely opened with proper disinfection and physical distancing requirements in place.
How can the public use the parks safely?
Summit Metro Parks urges everyone to stay home if sick or exhibiting symptoms, wash their hands before coming to the parks and maintain at least six feet from other visitors. The park district also reminds visitors to avoid congregating in parking lots or at points of interest and to bypass busy parking lots. Visitors are asked to carry their own water and hand sanitizer, avoid “high touch” items like benches, railings and picnic tables, and if possible, to bring a trash bag to carry out their own trash.
Why are some trails marked for one-way travel?
To help keep visitors safe, the park district has installed one-way signs on certain trails where it is difficult to maintain six feet of distance when passing – these include trails with narrow boardwalks and trail sections.
Do I need to wear a mask at the parks?
While visitors are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas when maintaining six feet from others, we recommend bringing one in order to be prepared.
What can I do to reduce my chance of exposure?
Parks are safe to visit at any time of day if proper social distancing is practiced. However, early morning hours are the least-visited and therefore the best time to minimize exposure. We encourage visitors to avoid high-traffic areas and visit less-busy parks. This is a great time to check out a new park! Some suggestions include:
Are you offering senior hours?
Because so few people visit the parks early in the morning, senior hours have been discontinued at this time. Early morning hours remain the best time to visit the parks to reduce your chance of exposure.
Is it safe to use a picnic table, bench or grill?
While Summit Metro Parks has lifted restrictions on using these amenities, please be aware that we are unable to disinfect them.
Are your public playgrounds open?
Playgrounds and nature play areas have reopened. Please be aware that we are unable to disinfect these facilities.
Are the restrooms open?
Many restrooms remain open for emergency use - a full list of closed restrooms is available on the Park & Trail Alerts page. Restrooms are cleaned once daily to protect staff and preserve supplies and equipment. Bathhouse restrooms and indoor restrooms at Liberty Park Nature Center and Goodyear Heights Metro Park Lodge will remain closed.
Is fishing permitted? Are you stocking fishing ponds and lakes?
Fishing is a permitted activity, with proper social distancing. With the exception of Brushwood Lake at Furnace Run Metro Park, all Spring 2020 full-size fish stockings are canceled because they draw large crowds. (Brushwood was stocked prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency.) Lakes and ponds have an existing fish population, and the park district will continue stocking lakes with young fish that will reach full size by later this summer.
Are you hiring?
We continue to accept applications and are screening and interviewing applicants. For more information on available positions, please visit: https://www.summitmetroparks.org/employment.aspx.