Summit Metro Parks is extending closures, reopening some facilities and closing swimming for the season as the public health battle against the spread of COVID-19 continues.
The park system said in a news release that parks and trails will remain open. Under direction from the state, however, the park district will extend cancellations of in-person public programs and the closure of public buildings and other facilities through May 31.
Modifications have been made to promote social distancing at some of the more heavily used paths and trails.
Sand Run Parkway between Sand Run Road and the ford (midway to North Portage Path) has been closed to provide additional space for users of the popular Jogging Trail.
Other busy locations also will be subject to rolling parking limitations to keep potential crowd sizes down.
With new safety procedures in place, the park system said it has reopened archery ranges and community gardening.
Other safety concerns mean some facilities will wait until next year for the chance to resume operations.
The district will not open its swim lakes at Munroe Falls Metro Park and Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton in 2020, citing its inability to train and certify lifeguards and potential crowding among its obstacles.
Following guidance from Summit County Public Health on large-scale gatherings, the park district said it canceled all in-person events for more than 250 people through Sept. 7.
The Mother’s Day 5K will be a virtual run/walk and the Spree for All hiking event will likely include a virtual option, the park system said. The Touch-A-Truck event scheduled for Aug. 8 will also be modified.
Summit Metro Parks is no longer accepting new lodge, shelter or camping reservations. Special use permit application approvals have been placed on hold though Dec. 31. People with existing reservations through Dec. 31 can contact the park district to reschedule or receive a refund.
The park district urges everyone to stay home if sick or exhibiting systems, to wash their hands and practice social distancing.
Facilities currently closed for public safety include:
• F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm Visitors Center (1828 Smith Road, Akron).
• Liberty Park Nature Center (9999 Liberty Road, Twinsburg).
• Summit Lake Nature Center (390 W. Crosier St., Akron).
• Administrative Offices Lobby (975 Treaty Line Road, Akron).
• Volunteer Center (located at the Service Center on Sand Run Parkway).
• All rentable lodges and shelters.
• Playgrounds and nature play areas, exercise equipment, camping, boat rentals, picnic tables, benches, fishing docks and observation decks.
• Some restrooms.
• Drinking fountains.